Nick Kyrgios overcame the embarrassment of forgetting his tennis shoes to battle through to the second round of the Cincinnati Open with a three-set victory over American qualifier Denis Kudla.
The Australian 15th seed held up the start of play as he was seen searching his kit bag on court before admitting to officials he hadn’t packed his trainers.
“Wait, what?” Kyrgios could be heard saying on camera as he went through the various compartments of his tennis bag before swearing when he clicked on to what had happened.
After walking around the side of the court in his dark grey socks to find someone who could retrieve his shoes, the embarrassed world No.18 then told his bemused opponent: “I left my tennis shoes in the locker room, sorry man.”
After a tournament aide came to the rescue by retrieving his required footwear, which meant he didn’t have to play in the basketball shoes he walked on to court in, last year’s tournament runner-up wrapped up a nervy 6-7 (7-2) 7-5 7-6 (9-7) victory in one hour and 58 minutes.
The mercurial Kyrgios again produced some dazzling shots and fired 39 aces, including a huge second-serve ace when down match point.
“[In my mind] I don’t feel as if I can miss that serve again, so I just go for it,” Kyrgios said.
“It came off today, but obviously some days it’s not going to work. But on days like today, obviously it got me the win.”
Maybe just go with the hi-tops @NickKyrgios?
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) August 14, 2018
Despite his win at the ATP Masters 1000 event, there were concerns for Kygrios, who showed signs of being troubled by injury as he secured a showdown with Croatian Borna Coric, a 6-2 6-3 winner over Russian qualifier Daniil Medvedev.
“This year has been tough,” Kyrgios said.
“I started the year very well. Then, obviously, I hurt my elbow. Then I had an ongoing hip injury.
“We have been definitely thinking about the options with my hip. You know, there is only so much you can do before you have to, you know, I guess, get surgery or something like that.
“You know, right now I’m just managing it.”
Belgian 11th seed David Goffin advanced to the round of 32 with a 7-5 6-3 win over Greek sensation Stefanos Tsitsipas while Leonardo Mayer became the first player to reach the round of 16 with a 7-6 (9-7) 6-4 victory over 16th-seeded Lucas Pouille.
Others to progress to the second round on Tuesday were Hyeon Chung, Milos Raonic, Robin Haase, Karen Khachanov, Mischa Zverev, Marton Fucsovics and Marius Copil.