'Never-before-seen' act of Kyrgios 'disrespect' stuns tennis fans

Andrew Reid
·5-min read
Nick Kyrgios can be seen here dropping an underarm serve against Dominic Thiem.
Nick Kyrgios found a new way to shock tennis fans against Dominic Thiem at the Australian Open. Pic: Getty

Drama should not come as a surprise to anyone watching a Nick Kyrgios match, but the Aussie star found a new way to outdo himself on Friday night.

The 25-year-old came out firing in his third round clash against World No.3 Dominic Thiem on his beloved John Cain Arena.

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With the raucous home faithful very much in Kyrgios' corner, the World No.47 was doing his best to whip supporters up into a frenzy.

It all began with a crucial break of Thiem in the very first game that sparked a crowd eruption which could quite easily have lifted the retractable roof off the arena.

The noise reached fever pitch when Kyrgios took out the first set, but the most dramatic moment was yet to come.

At 4-4 in the second set and with both players refusing to give an inch on their own serve, Kyrgios once again managed to break last year's Australian Open runner-up.

Three commanding points on his own serve left Kyrgios on the brink of a two-sets-to-love lead when the Aussie decided to pull out one of the most extraordinarily audacious tactics that many fans had ever witnessed.

Kyrgios is no stranger to an underarm serve, but to even contemplate it at set point up in the third round of a grand slam was scarcely believable.

More incredibly, however, Kyrgios managed to ace the deep-lying Thiem to clinch the second stanza in the most dramatic of circumstances.

Unsurprisingly, viewers were left searching for words to describe what they were witnessing.

Kyrgios feeds off amazing crowd energy

The atmosphere inside John Cain Arena was electric, with fans no doubt hoping for a repeat of the thrilling five-set marathon Kyrgios won against Ugo Humbert in the second round.

It was clear from the onset that Kyrgios' game plan was to channel as much energy from the crowd as possible, against a man regarded as one of the fittest and most physical in the sport.

It didn't take Kyrgios long to make the most of his 'home court advantage' as the Aussie pounced on Thiem's opening service game.

Every point that Kyrgios won in the opening game was greeted with an increasingly loud roar as the 25-year-old came exploding out of the blocks.

When Kyrgios immediately managed to break Thiem, the noise was almost deafening as the Aussie star encouraged supporters to cheer even louder.

Thiem steadied himself after the first game hiccup and rarely looked troubled on serve during the rest of the opening set.

With Kyrgios' serve firing on all cylinders, the Aussie set up a chance to serve for the first set at 5-4 up.

With a wicked serve out wide to the Thiem forehand, followed by an authoritative volley, the home favourite clinched the opening set to spark celebratory scenes.

The second set went on serves until the ninth game when Kyrgios once again ramped up the pressure on Thiem's racquet.

Twice the Austrian staved off break points but it was a third time lucky for Kyrgios as the Aussie set up a chance to serve for a two-sets-to-love lead.

Pictured here, Nick Kyrgios rallies the crowd in his match against Dominic Thiem.
Nick Kyrgios was doing his best to pump up the crowd against Dominic Thiem. Pic: Getty

Kyrgios signalled his intent with a booming ace down the centre to kick things off, before finishing off Thiem with the underarm ace that will no doubt be talked of for years to come.

Maintaining his momentum was always going to be a challenge for Kyrgios against an opponent renowned for his ability to go the distance.

So it proved in the third stanza as Thiem capitalised on some loose Kyrgios serving to take the set 6-3 and get himself back into the contest.

Thiem set up several break point chances at 4-4 in the fourth set after adopting a deep returning position from way behind the baseline.

The Austrian took the crucial break at the third time of asking to silence the home fans and leave Kyrgios fuming.

The dramatic contest took another twist when Kyrgios was docked a point penalty for smashing his racquet in frustration, giving Thiem a crucial leg up in the 10th game as he tried to level the contest at two sets apiece.

Kyrgios looked like he may have saved a set point with a sublime backhand passing shot but Hawkeye showed that it missed the line by a mere 8mm as the contest went into a deciding fifth set.

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