It was theatrics at play yesterday during a heated Wimbledon grudge match between Nick Kyrigos and Rafael Nadal. The Aussie player displayed bold and risky shots like explosive forehand, teasing drop sand volley to get the attention of the crowd.
During game points, he used his signature underarm serve to make the crowd cheer louder. But he shocked them too, when he deliberately hit Nadal on his chest, not once but twice. First, in the second set, he smacked a service return. Second, in the third set when Nadal approached the net for a volley, he smacked the ball again making the Spaniard lose his points.
Nick accepted that this was intentionally done by him and was unapologetic even later. ‘I was going for him. Yeah, I wanted to hit him square in the chest. Like, he’s got decent hands,’ said 24-year-old Aussie player.
He went on to add, ‘Why should I apologise? I mean, the dude has got how many slams how much money in the bank account? I think he can take a ball to the chest, bro. I’m not going to apologise to him at all.
Kyrgios is unpredictable, volatile and doesn’t treat all matches with same dedication against the top players. While Nadal will fight with his forehand and focus to push any and every opponent. One could see that when Nadal won the match, he looked pumped and even did a jump, a metre high, in the air. It showed how much this win meant to him.
The Aussie player fired down 29 aces, most of them on crucial points and displayed his wonderful touch and creativity at the net. In two sets, Nick didn’t face a single break point and Nadal was finding it hard to read his service, he didn’t give in either.
Kyrgios’s enthusiasm and Nadal’s intensity provoked each other on the Centre Court of Wimbledon. It was the theatre of tennis at its very best.