Sun. Aug 14th, 2022

Nick Kyrgios has pulled out of his doubles quest at Wimbledon to concentrate on what could be his best charge yet at the singles crown.

After his unexpected rock ‘n’ roll doubles run at the Australian Open earlier this year alongside friend and teammate Thanasi Kokkinakis – where the “Special Ks” become the first Aussie pair to win the title since 1997 – many wondered whether they would rekindle their partnership to compete for another trophy.

But after his businesslike sweep past number 26 seed Filip Krajinovic overnight 6-2, 6-3, 6-1, the unseeded Kyrgios announced he was withdrawing from the men’s doubles in order to concentrate on his individual push.

“I’m a singles player: my priority has always been singles. I’ve made quarter-finals here before, I’ve won singles titles,” said Kyrgios, who had been due to play his opening-round doubles match against Aljaz Bedene and Kwon Soon-woo a few hours after his singles win.

“I played nearly four hours in my first round. Me personally, it was just too much time on court.

Two days after struggling to tame Briton Paul Jubb in front of the vociferous Court 3 fans, Kyrgios was the very model of focus as he knocked out Serbian Krajinovic with brutal efficiency.

Nick Kyrgios, wearing a backwards cap, watches a tennis ball go over the net at Wimbledon.
Kyrgios made headlines for his antics against Jubb, but was calm and in control in his win over Krajinovic.(Getty: Steven Paston / PA)

“I just wanted to remind everyone I’m pretty good,” Kyrgios said pointedly, still in unsmiling, matter-of-fact mood in his interview on Court 2 afterwards.

“I did not play great the other day – today, I was in the zone.”

Kyrgios also took the opportunity of his post-match media conference to call out recent media criticism of his behavior, which included spitting at a spectator, for which he was fined $ US10,000 ($ 14,500).

“I feel like I just do not have the respect sometimes, you know?” he said.

“There was just nothing the media possibly could tell me I did wrong today. I just know that you can not possibly ask me anything and stir anything up.

“It was just kind of a reminder to put you all back in your place.”

Out there, he had demonstrated why he believed himself to be one of the best grass-court players in the world, demolishing a capable, seeded opponent good enough to have reached the recent prestigious Queen’s Club final.

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Devastating behind his first serve, the Australian swept to his win in under an hour-and-a-half, having cracked down 24 aces and losing only nine points on his own delivery.

Those attracted to the idea of ​​seeing Kyrgios, who admitted to spitting towards a spectator in Tuesday’s contest, in further self-destruct mode were to be left sorely disappointed as the controversy magnet was on his best behavior.

There was an early dispute over a line call and a grumble or two towards a coughing spectator before he was serving, but they did not even register as the most minor tremors on the normal Kyrgios scale of meltdowns.

In the first set, Kyrgios did not drop a single point on serve and only conceded the first on his own delivery after 21 straight points, when already 2-0 up in the second stanza.

Krajinovic just looked increasingly dispirited as winner after winner flashed past him, and Kyrgios finished with a flourish, advancing on the Serb’s serve to pulverize a backhand return for his 50th winner that sealed the deal.

It set up a mouth-watering third-round clash for Kyrgios on Saturday with number four seed Stefanos Tsitsipas, who defeated the Australian’s hitting partner and pal, Jordan Thompson 6-2, 6-3, 7-5.

“I’ve got an incredibly tough draw but I’ll keep taking it match by match.

“I’m excited. I feel like we both earned the right. We’re two of the biggest stars in the sport. Hopefully, if we both bring our best tennis, it’s going to be amazing to watch.”

AAP / ABC

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