Novak Djokovic v Nick Kyrgios: Wimbledon men’s singles final – live! | Wimbledon 2022


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And here they come, to loud applause, and loud roars. No boos yet. All in good time.

The two players are making their final preparations, up the steps in the hallowed halls of Wimbledon. Not long now. Nick Kyrgios is the first man out, and trying his best to look casual, his loping stride giving off some real masculinity. Djokovic, the old stager, hangs back, doing his stretches.

There was a first-time winner yesterday, will there be one by the end of today?

After navigating all of the nerves and tension that accompanied her maiden grand slam final and an extremely solid start from her opponent, Rybakina fought her way back from a one set deficit to overpower Ons Jabeur, the third seed, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 and become Wimbledon champion.

The 23-year-old is the first Kazakh player to win a grand-slam singles tournament. Having been born in Russia, she switched her nationality to Kazakhstan in 2018 after being offered financial support by the national federation. The Duchess of Cambridge was present to hand over the trophy.

Odd as it may seem, these two have only met twice on the ATP Tour, and Kyrgios has won both times. Per Sporting News.

Both meetings came in 2017 and on both occasions, Kyrgios won in straight sets. Their first match came at the quarter final at Acapulco in Mexico. While the match only lasted two sets, it was a hard-fought encounter in which Kyrgios won 7-6(9) 7-5.

Kyrgios’ serve was the difference on that occasion as he sent down an incredible 25 aces to Djokovic’s two. Their second clash was just a few weeks later, this time in the round of 16 at the ATP Masters Indian Wells.

Kyrgios again emerged victorious 6-4 7-6(3) on the back of his winning 86 per cent of points on first serve. Both previous meetings came on hard court as opposed to the grass courts at Wimbledon.

Novak Djokovic’s press conference was a little more circumspect.

The experience that I have at this level, playing in the finals against someone that has never played a Grand Slam final, could be slightly in my favour. But at the same time, knowing who he [Krygios] is and how he goes about his tennis and his attitude on the court, he doesn’t seem to be falling under pressure much.

He plays lights-out every time he steps out onto the court. Just [has] a lot of power in his serve and his game. So I’m sure he’s going to go for it. No doubt he’s going to be aggressive. I expect him to do that.

Some incendiary quotes from “Nasty Nick” in his press conference. Scorched earth very much the policy here.

The only great that’s ever been supportive of me the whole time has been Lleyton Hewitt. He kind of knows that I kind of do my own thing. I’m definitely the outcast of the Australian players. It sucks.

It’s pretty sad because I don’t get any support from any of the other Australian tennis players, the male side.

Not the players, but like the past greats. It’s weird they just have like a sick obsession with tearing me down for some reason. “I never thought I’d be here at all, to be brutally honest with you,” he said. “But I’m just super proud and I’m just ready to go. I’m going to give it my all and we’ll see what happens.

Weather Report: no, not Jaco

Pistorius
Pastorius, but it’s the hottest day of Wimbledon so far.

Today, Britain is expected to bask in sunshine with people in London and south-east England told to expect highs of 29C and clear skies. Met Office meteorologist Dan Stroud said: “We should see pretty much wall-to-wall sunshine across the bulk of England and Wales and a good portion of Scotland.”

And a Wimbledon fortnight photo essay from Tom Jenkins.

An Australian perspective.

Djokovic had history. A year earlier, he’d penned an open letter to the people of Australia, which ought to have been grounds for a 14-day quarantine in itself. Some of his more lowly-ranked brethren were holed up in hotels whacking forehands against fridges, trapping rodents and going nuts. Djokovic’s call for preferential treatment fell on deaf ears.

But he really pushed his luck this January. Djokovic’s mug led the news for more than a week. His supporters were camped outside his quarantine hotel, singing Balkan folk songs. The live stream of his visa appeal was bedevilled by lengthy dropouts, porn and spamming. The local newspapers published columns by comedians, immigration lawyers and experts on Serbian nationalism. They pondered which actor would play him in a mini-series. The prime minister, always energised on border control matters, played the hard man.

Tumaini Carayol previewed the battle of the bad guys.

In the final, Kyrgios will reacquaint himself with Novak Djokovic, who he has had a turbulent relationship with. In a 2019 interview with the No Challenges Remaining podcast, Kyrgios unloaded on Djokovic, claiming he was obsessed with being liked. It was a one-sided dispute, with Djokovic never criticising Kyrgios publicly and he was confused by Kyrgios’s public hostility given their previous amicable encounters.

But in January, Kyrgios supported Djokovic when he was detained and then deported from Australia. While Kyrgios joked they now have a “bit of a bromance”, Djokovic was less enthusiastic, but he expressed his appreciation for Kyrgios’s support: “When it was really tough for me in Australia, he was one of the very few players that came out publicly and supported me and stood by me. That’s something I truly appreciate. So I respect him for that a lot.”

Djokovic: “It took you five years to say something nice about me.”

Kyrgios: “But I defended you when it mattered.”

Djokovic: “You did, I appreciate that.”

Kyrgios: “We friends now?”

Djokovic: “If you are inviting me for a drink or dinner, I accept. PS winner of tomorrow pays.”

Kyrgios: “Deal, let’s go to a nightclub and go nuts.”

This is a day for sad goodbyes.

Who else could have done a court-side chat with Chris Evert that went straight in on her ovarian cancer and still kept the mood high? Who else could have made a new wave of British hopefuls – including the surprise semi-finalist Cameron Norrie – so comfortable under the sudden spotlight?

Preamble

If it can’t be Rafa Nadal that Novak Djokovic faces to try and win his 21st grand slam, then why not Nick Kyrgios, the beneficiary of Nadal’s injury withdrawal. This does feel like a case of bad guy versus villain, with apologies to all the Djoko and Big Nick fans out there. Controversy follows both, though in different forms perhaps best not gone into here. Can Krygios, with his pistol serve deal with Djokovic, the sport’s ultimate competitor, or can he get into the head of a six-time singles champion at SW19? Can his silly games get into the head of Djokovic, who these days is not as implacable as a few years back. Kyrgios is going for his first ever singles grand slam, having been seen as someone who had squandered his talent. There is something of Djokovic’s close friend and mentor about Kyrgios, and the two finalists do seem to have something of an affinity, a shared outsider status despite one of them being one of the three greatest men’s players to have ever hit a crosscourt forehand. It could be a classic, it could be a walkover, it’s bound to feature one or both of them roaring like a lion somewhere along the line.

It starts at 2pm, London time.



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