'Old man' Kyrgios thumps Ferreira Silva

Justin Chadwick
·2-min read

Firebrand Nick Kyrgios says he feels like a "wise old man" now after gaining a greater perspective on life and tennis.

Kyrgios overcame a slow start to beat Portugal's Frederico Ferreira Silva 6-4 6-4 6-4 in 119 minutes in their round-one Australian Open encounter on Monday night.

The world No.47 blew a series of break-point opportunities in the first set, but his overall class and powerful serving proved too much to handle for Ferreira Silva.

The result sets up a tricky second-round clash with world No.34 Frenchman Ugo Humbert.

Kyrgios took almost a year out from the game during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although he has displayed his usual on-court antics and verbal sprays during his return, Kyrgios feels like he is now in a better position to ride the ups and downs of tennis.

"I feel old. I feel like this sport has stressed me out. I feel like an old soul," Kyrgios said.

"At the end of the day I know it's just a tennis match. I mean obviously I'm going to get angry as I'm playing. I'm a competitor, I want to win.

"But I don't beat myself up over losses. I'm extremely lucky to even be in my position. I'm healthy, I've got great friends, great family. I've got an amazing girlfriend back home.

"I definitely feel I've calmed down a lot in my career now. I just take every match as it comes.

"Look at me, I'm a wise man now."

Kyrgios converted just five of his 17 break-point opportunities for the match, and he rated his performance as "average".

He cut a frustrated figure early in the match, dropping his opening service game before bellowing at his entourage: "Are you even awake? You haven't said anything."

The frustrations continued to build as Kyrgios blew seven break-point chances in the third game.

He finally secured the break back on his eighth chance, and from there he dominated the rest of the match.

Some of his service games were so clinical they lasted less than a minute.

"I haven't been nervous like that for a tennis match for a long time," Kyrgios said.

"Not competing for a while at a grand slam level, I was doubting my confidence a little bit.

"I got broken in my first game of the tournament, which is never a good sign. But then bounced back well.

"From what I'm capable of - I can't really expect too much. I haven't been at this level for almost a year.

"It's like taking a year out from the game and coming back and trying to find your best tennis again. It's not easy."