Rafael Nadal riled by Nick Kyrgios but sees him off despite underarm ace

Rafael Nadal emerged victorious against Nick Kyrgios 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 7-6 but the bad feeling between the two showed no signs of easing in a spicy second-round Wimbledon contest

Nick Kyrgios discovered on Thursday evening that you provoke a champion at your peril as Rafael Nadal husbanded his controlled fury over four engrossing sets to grind down an opponent who had taunted him beforehand as a bad loser and whose tongue later let him down like rarely before.


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    In a staggering admission, Kyrgios said he deliberately hit a ball at Nadal in the third set. He did not apologise at the time and it did little but lift the fuming Spaniard as he drove on to complete a 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (3) win in just over three hours in fading light on Centre Court. Victory takes the Spaniard into the third round of a tournament he has won twice and which the outrageously gifted Australian may never win.

    What friends Kyrgios won in a hard-fought contest full of rich ground strokes and deft touches at the net not to mention 29 of his belting aces he may just as quickly alienate when they hear and read what he said in a press conference that mixed wit and practised insolence, and which shocked even hardened observers of the players astonishing career.

    Nick
    Nick Kyrgios played plenty of trick shots as well as some sublime tennis but ran out of steam in the fourth set. Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian

    Why would I apologise? he said when asked about the baseline forehand he thrashed at Nadal in the third set, which thudded into his racket handle and chest, and drew the most withering glare. I didnt hit him. Hit his racket, no? Why would I apologise? I won the point. I mean, the dude has got how many slams, how much money in the bank? I think he can take a ball to the chest, bro. Im not going to apologise to him at all. Yeah, I was going for him. Yeah, I wanted to hit him square in the chest. Like, hes got decent hands.

    And Kyrgios disagreed with Nadals generous courtside assessment that he could one day win a grand slam. I know what Im capable of, he said. Im a great tennis player, but I dont do the other stuff. Im not the most professional guy. I wont train day in, day out. I wont show up every day. Theres a lot of things I need to improve on to get to that level that Rafa brings, Novak [Djokovic], Roger ]Federer] have been doing for so long. Just depends how bad I want it. But, no, at the moment I dont think I can contend for a grand slam.

    Nadal, in contrast, was tact itself immediately afterwards. When he wants to compete, he is one of the toughest opponents you can face.


     

    He said he heard Kyrgios say to the chair umpire after being warned for unsportsmanlike conduct (holding up Nadals serve): Youre a disgrace. You have no idea, no idea.

    Nadals take on it was: I have been aware of everything. I was next to him. But I dont want to comment on this. Its amazing how he is able to forget all this. Potentially he is a grand slam winner.

    Nick
    Nick Kyrgios had several heated discussions with the umpire, at one point calling the official a disgrace and a joke. Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian

    It is a shame that barely suppressed animus provided the background mood music for the resumption of a rivalry that began here five years ago in mutual respect and wonderment. On that glorious occasion the 19-year-old Kyrgios ignored the 144 ranking places between them to announce his arrival. They embraced at the net then, the Spaniard shattered in defeat, and he was not exactly fulsome in his praise for his conqueror afterwards.


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    But the resentment has simmered more on Kyrgioss side than Nadals. When he was caught drinking at the Dog & Fox in Wimbledon village late at night he viewed it as a joke and laughed it off after the match. It is plain he is incapable of abiding by convention or rules of engagement that most other players regard as normal in pursuit of the big prizes.

    Yet he played tennis on Thursday that was worthy of a grand slam winner. After a slow start that threatened a quick finish Kyrgios steadily got into the exchanges and began to cause Nadal all sorts of problems with his serve both big and booming, as well as deft and under-arm. His court awareness when he concentrates on his job is remarkable.

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    Photograph: Chesnot/Getty Images Europe

    However, Nadal responded to each wave of Kyrgios genius with one of his own. He admitted he should not have let his concentration lapse in the second set but he gritted his teeth when the fight got serious in the third.

    After an hour and 53 minutes Nadal struck his first ace, and held for 6-5. True to his ethos Kyrgios forced the tie-break with a 136mph second-serve ace.

    Kyrgios had won 12 of his 17 shootouts this season, Nadal four of seven but only one in his past six against the Australian. As the contest went past two hours it was Nadal who improved his record, with the help of another ace.

    By the time Nadal stepped up to the service line at 4-5 in the fourth the result was still in the balance. He held to love to keep the fight going; Kyrgios came from a point down to hold and the pressure remained on the 33-year-old Mallorcan. Nadal held to 15 and they went to a second tie-break.

    After fighting so well and for so long Kyrgios lost his focus, inexplicably tapping two easy forehands into the turf. With three match points in his back pocket, Nadal forced a final weary backhand from his mercurial foe and they shook hands with all the warmth of City bankers closing a deal.

    Original Article : HERE ; The Ultimate Survival Food: The Lost Ways


     
     


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