As soon as the Wimbledon draw was out, tennis watchers from around the globe flocked to the idea of a potential Rafael Nadal vs Nick Kyrgios showdown in the second round. The Australian certainly looked out of sorts at times in his first round match but finally, we have our much-awaited matchup.
Rafael Nadal vs Nick Kyrgios
The Nadal- Kyrgios rivalry has come full circle for it was here at SW19 in 2014 where they met for the first time. The Wimbledon 2014 match gave birth to an intriguing rivalry which has never ceased to be eventful. They are currently tied 3-3 but in recent times their off-court comments on each other have added lots of spice to this rivalry.
This May, when asked about Rafael Nadal on a podcast Kyrgios replied, “He’s my polar opposite. He’s super salty every time I beat him.” There’s no doubt that they are in fact polar opposites in how they conduct themselves on the court and the way they play their tennis.
Nadal hasn’t held himself back either voicing his opinion on Kyrgios openly after his loss to the Australian at this year’s Acapulco Open. The Spaniard condemned the Australian’s attitude lacking respect towards the audience and his opponent. If there’s one thing for certain it’s that Nadal doesn’t like to face Kyrgios.
On the court, one can easily spot the uneasiness on Nadal’s face when he’s playing Kyrgios. The Australian with his humongous serve and heavy groundstrokes makes life extremely difficult for Rafa. The underarm serve is the latest addition to the enigmatic Australian’s game and he even tried to use it when they met in Acapulco.
Five years ago when they met at Wimbledon, Nick Kyrgios was relatively unknown in the tennis circuit until he took on Rafa in the fourth round. The clash had everything from booming serves to an outrageous winner from Kyrgios. You have to see it to believe it.
What To Expect
With Nick Kygrios you just never know. Take his first round, for example, which he won 7-6 (4) 3-6 7-6 (10) 0-6 6-1. The kind of ebbs and flows this match had can only be associated with Kyrgios. Touted as one of the future champions of the game after he burst onto the scene in 2014, Kyrgios hasn’t quite lived up to the expectations. A man of immense talent, it’s the mental fortitude where he lacks, at times looking extremely disinterested on the court. The Australian’s game boosts up whenever he faces Nadal and one can only hope Kyrgios can produce another performance for the ages.
For Rafael Nadal, he didn’t want to talk about Nick Kyrgios ahead of his first-round match but now he‘d have to. The Spaniard is extremely vulnerable against the likes of Kyrgios especially in the first week here at Wimbledon. For his fans, his first round match is a great sign that he’s feeling well on the grass dominating the Japanese Yuichi Sugita 6-3 6-1 6-3. Nadal knows he has a huge task ahead of him but like all great champions of the game, he’ll no doubt be relishing it.
Expecting at least one underarm serve though.