Nick Kyrgios was overcome with emotion on Wednesday night after pulling off one of the most remarkable victories of his career at the Australian Open.
Kyrgios saved two match points and then the contest to down Ugo Humbert in a heart-stopping Open five-setter.
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The 25-year-old Canberran looked set for a second-round departure when Humbert served for the match at 5-4 in the fourth set.
But Kyrgios dug deep with the help of a roaring crowd to win the epic encounter 5-7 6-4 3-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 on Wednesday night.
Initially unsure exactly how he pulled it out of the bag, Kyrgios said an “insane” atmosphere helped. And the thought of facing the backlash if he lost.
“I was afraid to come into this room, you know,” he said in his post-match press conference.
“(And) go to my Airbnb and just read about it and take it all in, take all the negativity in that I have already taken.
“It's not easy to come back and try and put it all behind. I have been through a lot, and I didn't just put my hand in a lucky dip and disappear.”
Tennis world erupts over Nick Kyrgios comeback
The World No.47 looked shot after coughing up four consecutive games across the third and fourth sets but he lifted with three stunning winners with the match on the line.
Speaking with his physio after the match, Kyrgios said it was right up there with his best wins anywhere.
“He's seen me tank matches, play epic five-setters, everything, and that was still one of the most crazy matches for both of us,” he said.
“We've seen it all, but that was insane.”
Kyrgios said he was “in awe” of the thunderous crowd at John Cain Arena.
“The stadium definitely didn't feel half full, that's for sure.”
He had kind words for Humbert, who he rated one of the better up-and-coming-players on tour.
“I hope he doesn't take it too hard on himself either,” Kyrgios said.
“He played a hell of a match. He's going to be really good.”
Fans flocked to social media in awe of Kyrgios’ comeback.
WHAT A COMEBACK! Expected nothing less from the legend. Bow down to King Kyrgios, everyone. #ausopen
— Christie (@chrismsia) February 10, 2021
Nick Kyrgios comes back from 3-5 and 2 match points down in the 4th, to complete the epic comeback and beat Ugo Humbert 5-7, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6, 6-4!
Incredible scenes at the #AusOpen as the Aussie crowd wills Kyrgios to winning a thriller match!
Thiem v Kyrgios next in 3R 🍿🍿 pic.twitter.com/75WQQ3LUYl
— AAB 🔰 (@aab_mufc) February 10, 2021
Incredible looking back on that match. Two match points down and appeared to be his own worse enemy, then regathered and tore Humbert apart with scintillating tennis. Epic Kyrgios comeback and enthralling entertainment 👊 #AusOpen
— Zachary Gates (@_zacharygates) February 10, 2021
NICK KYRGIOS SHOWS THE WORLD WHY HE HAS ALWAYS BEEN MY FAVORITE PLAYER🔥🔥🔥
Honestly, one of the craziest comebacks EVER seen. Been out 1 year without playing competitive tennis, this is really a crazy thing to do. I cant believe what I just saw. This is why we love betting🙏🏽
— Forza Pick$ (@forzatipster) February 10, 2021
— bet365 AUS (@bet365_aus) February 10, 2021
OH MY GOD !!! KING NICK KYRGIOS WINS IT !!!!
— Uli (@UlixMescudi) February 10, 2021
For his part, Kyrgios said he did get the sense that something special could unravel when he broke back in the fourth set.
“There was a moment ... I was, like, 'dude, this could be one of the most memorable matches of your career and you owe it to yourself',” he said.
Kyrgios is prepared for a physical match when he meets 2020 finalist Dominic Thiem for a spot in the last 16.
“I have a lot of respect for him. I think his style of tennis is not easy to play. He's super physical,” he said of Thiem.
“But I'm not even thinking about it. I'm hurting just thinking about playing him right now.”
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