Wimbledon: Nick Kyrgios, ‘excluded’, self-anointed ‘inspiration’ and now singles finalist

It’s hard to imagine Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer or Novak Djokovic coming up with such a line – but then again Nick Kyrgios can’t be compared to any of those tennis greats.

Kyrgios’ first major singles final has been due to an unprecedented situation, with Nadal’s torso in his abdominal muscle causing his opponent to become the first player to take advantage of a walkover in the Wimbledon semifinals in the open era.

Wimbledon: Djokovic hopes for fireworks in record Grand Slam final with Kyrgios

“I didn’t want to go to the finals,” Kyrgios told a news conference on Friday.

But injuries are becoming commonplace for the ‘Big Three’ – Kyrgios’ great teammate Andy Murray has already been dropped from the ‘Big Four’ due to fitness issues.

So, for the first time, will the finalists get a chance to step into that void at the forefront of the game?

“No, no, I’m not,” Kyrgios replied. “I don’t think anyone would be able to fill those shoes.”

He smiled and said: “If I ever win a Grand Slam trophy, please don’t pressure me to do one more.”

This may be Kyrgios’ first and only winning run, but it is one he has been waiting for for a long time.

Wimbledon: Kyrgios congratulates Nadal on semi-final walkoverWimbledon: Kyrgios congratulates Nadal on semi-final walkover

“When I was a junior here, I saw some seekers walking around and I never thought I would play for a real men’s championship,” he said.

“It’s the pinnacle of tennis. Once you’ve been able to lift the Grand Slam trophy, it’s like this: What else do you want to achieve?”

“I never thought I’d be here and I’m so proud and ready to go. I’ll give my all and see what happens.”

Australia also waited a long time. The Australian team has won six Wimbledon men’s singles titles, but not a single since Lytton Hewitt’s lone victory in 2002.

His last finalist was Mark Philiposis in 2003, who was defeated by Federer for his first title. As of Sunday, it would have been 6,944 days since the Australian man went out for the singles final on Center Court.

Wimbledon 2022: Novak Djokovic loses to Cameron Nori, sets off with KyrgiosWimbledon 2022: Novak Djokovic loses to Cameron Nori, sets off with Kyrgios

That kind of legacy doesn’t appeal to Kyrgios, however, as he explains: “The great players of Australian tennis weren’t the best for me and they don’t always support me the most – they don’t support these things. Two .. weeks.”

Hewitt is an exception – the Davis Cup captain was a brief hitting partner before the tournament – but Kyrgios considers himself “definitely excluded from the Australian players”.

“It’s very sad,” he said, adding that his relationship with other Australian chiefs was “strange”. “They have a sick obsession with tearing me down. It’s useless.”

No, instead of bidding to join that rank, Kyrgios believes he is inspiring others like him.

“I grew up in Canberra, the courts on which I trained were terrible and now I have the opportunity to play in the Wimbledon final,” he said.

“I think it’s honestly inspiring for any kid who is ‘excluded’ or surrounded by negative headlines or negative clouds or brought down from very different angles.

“It’s possible. If you believe in yourself, it’s still possible to achieve something special. My self-confidence has never diminished.”

There is certainly no shortage of negative headlines.

Kyrgios spat at the audience before the match; His third-round victory over Stefanos Tsitsipas was one of the fortnight’s matches, but his generally brutal approach to his encounter did not become very popular; And when he talks about the strategy he has already devised for Nadal – the former enemy – it is easy to wonder whether Kyrgios intends to overtake his opponent or just go under his skin.

More seriously, Kyrgios was summoned earlier this week to appear in Canberra court next month to face charges of common assault.

He will not be alone in responding enthusiastically to the victory of the Australian great Kyrgios, although the crowd in the central court has shown him warmth.

No fuss is new for Kyrgios, and with this being his first major singles final, the doubles title at the Australian Open made some important preparations to reach that level.

“I’ve been in Melbourne for a long time; There’s a lot of time in one place, “Kyrgios said.

He was ready for the rollercoaster of Grand Slam runs: “I beat Paul Jubilee 7-5 in the fifth set in my first round and now I’m in the final of Wimbledon. You want to ride the waves, punch them and surprise them.

“In a Grand Slam, you don’t know; you can stay four points away from losing the competition and then 11 days later you can reach the final.

There’s undeniable excitement about that opportunity ahead of Kyrgios, who considers himself “one of the most competitive kids I’ve ever met”.

But if Sunday’s match didn’t go his way, he could see the big picture at once. Kyrgios is the first unseeded major finalist at the 2008 Australian Open after Joe-Wilfred Tsonga and the first unseeded Wimbledon finalist after the Philippines.

“I know if I won or lost on Sunday, I would be happy, because it’s a great achievement that I never thought I would be a part of – especially at the age of 27,” Kyrgios said.

“For me, I thought these were the later stages of my career; I never thought I would get a chance here. “

Now that he has that opportunity, however, he is determined to give his all – something his critics may suggest is not always given to Kyrgios.

“Only eight people have won the title since I was born,” he said. “I’m going to give my best shot.”

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