Wimbledon: Australian bad-boy Kyrgios relishes the role of the villain

by IANS |

London, June 26 (IANS) Australia's Nick Kyrgios starts Wimbledon 2022 in good form, hoping to upset many players and change many things at the year's third Grand Slam.

The temperamental and mercurial player is capable of producing great tennis but also losing his composure and making a show on the court.

While hoping to do well in the tournament, Kyrgios also wants to change many traditions at Wimbledon.

If Kyrgios had his way with Wimbledon, he would adopt an all-black clothing policy instead of the traditional rule stipulating that competitors dress in white when playing.

But the Australian, who was dressed in black from head to toe when discussing his Wimbledon prospects on Sunday, has arrived at the All England Club in anything but a dark mood after a promising grass-court season.

The 27-year-old, who will play British wild card Paul Jubb in the first round on Tuesday, is in good form on the court and feeling settled and content away from tennis as well.

Acknowledging Jubb is certain to receive plenty of support when they meet, Kyrgios is readying himself to adopt the role of being a villain against the local hopeful.

"Being in that position (as a wild card), I loved it. I had no pressure. So I know it is going to be a dangerous match," he said.

"I know I have just got to ride the waves emotionally out there because the crowd is obviously going to be behind the local.

"I'm used to wearing that kind of black hat, (playing) the villain-type role. I'm going to embrace it. I'm just going to go out there and play the game," Kyrgios was quoted as saying by the official website.

Playing the game is something the 2014 Wimbledon quarterfinalist has done particularly well this year, especially since his return to the circuit after skipping the clay-court season.

Having rebounded from a ranking of world No.137 in February to 45, he is competing with renewed focus and his appealing form has compatriots including Thanasi Kokkinakis rating him a contender for the crown.

He defeated Stefanos Tsitsipas in Halle on the way to the semi-finals, where he was beaten 4-6, 7-6(2), 7-6(4) by Hubert Hurkacz, who reached the last four at Wimbledon a year ago.

A week prior he also reached the semifinals in Stuttgart when beaten by Andy Murray, with Kyrgios describing the dual-Wimbledon champion's form as outstanding.

Kyrgios, who combined with Kokkinakis to win the Australian Open doubles title in January, is serving with precision and power. His forehand is a weapon to watch.

Prone to flares of temper which have derailed him in the past, he feels he has found a solution that is allowing him to perform more consistently in tournaments.

Less, he said, is more when it comes to his tennis. By choosing his tournaments more carefully and spending less time travelling, Kyrgios feels he has found a recipe for success.

"I think living in Australia - I've said it so many times - it's so hard to find the balance between spending time with your family, friends, having that kind of normal lifestyle," he said.

"I don't want to be spending seven, eight months on the road anymore. I just don't want to be doing that. It is not something I really care about. I don't play that often.

"When I play now, I've got to make sure I'm having some good results, putting my best effort. If I'd figured that out earlier in my career, maybe the narrative may have been different."

Kyrgios will combine with Kokkinakis again following their wild ride to a maiden Grand Slam title in Melbourne in what will be his first men's doubles campaign at the All England Club, said the report.

The right-hander is promising an entertaining encore but is adamant his primary focus is on succeeding in his singles campaign.

"For me, I just know if I'm serving well and I'm playing well, I can beat anyone. I have pretty much-beaten everyone in the draw before," he said.

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