Nick Kyrgios and Rafael Nadal played out an exceptional second-round Wimbledon 2019 match at Centre Court on Thursday.
Nadal was more potent in the crucial moments as he pulled through for a 6-3, 3-6, 7-6(5), 7-6(3) victory.
This was tennis at its most personal, in a way that we haven’t seen for a long time in ATP Tours.
While Nadal approached this match a “grudge match”, considering the history of the contestants and the banter between them, he played above his normal level in some respects.
Nadal vs Kyrgios was among the most anticipated and match of 2019 and didn’t disappoint a bit.
This moment had been brewing since the last time they met on Centre Court, five years ago, when a 19-year-old Kyrgios swaggered away with a four-set win and announced his arrival to the world.
Rafa won the first set quite comfortably with score line 6-3, Kyrgios was seen off sync but went on to gain his momentum in the second set.
The fiery Kyrgios threw everything he had at Nadal, blasted an extraordinary 143mph (230kph) second serve-ace during the first set. Kyrgios was angry after losing a challenge on his first serve and then smashed down the unstoppable second serve.
This is the second fastest second serve in ATP history.
Kyrgios resorted to the opposite extreme only moments later, with a gentle under-arm ace, eventually, Rafa won the first set.
43rd ranked Kyrgios then gave a reminder to everyone that amid all the antics there is a player of huge quality, one of the few with a heart to challenge the game’s dominant trio, with 33-year-old Nadal the one he seems able to unsettle a lot.
This moment had been brewing since the last time they met on Centre Court, five years ago, when a 19-year-old Kyrgios strutted away with a four-set win and announced his arrival to the world.
Kyrgios got control on the game and won the second-set 6-3.
Nadal was seen celebrating with an explosion of emotion rarely seen from him in the first week of a Grand Slam after a huge service hold during a marvelous third-set.
The fourth set was less exhilarating, yet just as entertaining, as both men found extra power and consistency in their serving to go to 6-6.
During the match, Kyrgios was seen smashing a forehand – maybe deliberately into Nadal’s body to which Nadal reacted by giving him a long hard look.
Rather than apologizing for poor display of sportsmanship Kyrgios went on to say –
“Why would I apologise? I didn’t hit him, I hit his racket, no? Why would I apologise? I won the point,” he said.
“I mean, the dude has got how many Slams, and how much money in the bank account? I think he can take a ball in the chest, bro. I’m not going to apologise to him at all.
“Yeah, I was going for him. Yeah, I wanted to hit him square in the chest,” he admitted.
In the immediate result of one of the best matches of the season, Rafael Nadal heaped praise on Nick Kyrgios.
‘He was a tough opponent,’ said Nadal,
‘When he wants to compete, he’s one of the toughest opponents you can face. It was an important victory for me, sometimes it’s tough to see a couple of things on the court. It’s amazing how good he is able to play, so if he is able to forget all these things, he’s potentially a Grand Slam winner.’ the 18-time Grand Slam champion said.
We can surely say that Rafael Nadal is not going home anytime soon, we can clearly see the grit, the want, and the determination to win this title.