Unseen Nick Kyrgios act at Wimbledon proof he is a changed man

Pictured here, Nick Kyrgios speaking after his fourth round victory at Wimbledon.
Nick Kyrgios identified a moment in a crazy fourth set as being key to his stunning victory at Wimbledon. Pic: Wimbledon

Nick Kyrgios has identified a moment in the fourth set as being key to his incredible five-set victory at Wimbledon that saw the Aussie move into the quarter-finals at the All England Club.

Bothered by a shoulder issue that looked to have him in danger of another anti-climactic loss, Kyrgios showed incredible heart against American rising star Brandon Nakashima to seal a 4-6 6-4 7-6 (7-2) 3-6 6-2 victory.

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On his best behaviour on Centre Court following the mayhem of his previous win over Stefanos Tsitsipas, Kyrgios showed rare spirit, summoning up his best when it mattered most to make it into his first grand slam quarter-final for seven years.

After a shaky start in which he dropped the first set, Kyrgios stormed back to take the next two before his shoulder issue appeared to flare up and his serve began to fail him.

Nakashima also stepped up his game as he fought to stay alive in the contest, taking the match into a decider after wrapping it up 6-3 in next to no time.

Commentator Todd Woodbridge was left baffled after accusing Kyrgios of tanking the fourth set, with fears of an all-too-familiar meltdown on the cards.

However, Kyrgios made a stunning admission in his press conference after the match about an unseen moment that helped him turn the tide and offered proof that the Aussie is a changed man.

“He was playing really well. I wasn’t playing that great. But I was almost enjoying the competitiveness,” Kyrgios said.

“That’s probably the first time in my career where I wasn’t playing well, regardless of playing Centre Court Wimbledon, fully packed crowd, (and) I was able to just say, ‘Wow, look how far I’ve come’, to myself. I was bouncing the ball before I served. I really just smiled to myself. I was like, ‘We’re here, we’re competing at Wimbledon, putting in a good performance mentally’.”

Whatever he did, it worked as Kyrgios extended his stunning unbeaten record in Wimbledon five-setters to 6-0 after dominating Nakashima in the decider.

"I've been here before, done it before and that is what I was thinking about," Kyrgios told his fans afterwards.

"Nowhere near my best performance, but I fought through, and the crowd were amazing.

"I have played a lot of tennis in the last month and a half and I'm just proud with how I played (with the injury)."

Now as he enjoys the prospect of only his third-ever last-eight appearance in a slam, it really does look like opportunity truly knocks for the 27-year-old, who hasn't been in the last-eight at Wimbledon since he was a Rafael Nadal-terrorising teenager in 2014.

Seen here, Nick Kyrgios celebrating his fourth round win against Brandon Nakashima at Wimbledon.
Nick Kyrgios celebrates his fourth round win against Brandon Nakashima at Wimbledon. Pic: Getty

"I stepped out here amongst the greatest of all-time and I beat Nadal. All these experiences that I've had got me over the line today," he smiled.

"I need a large glass of wine tonight for sure!"

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Kyrgios next faces a quarter-final with Chilean Cristian Garin, who'd earlier knocked out Kyrgios's Australian mate Alex de Minaur in an epic five-setter - a result that left the Canberra man deflated.

As if becalmed by his hallowed surroundings, there were times when Kyrgios's game had seemed to be short on its usual fire and fizz early on.

A host of Britain's greatest thespians were in the box to watch the craziest show in tennis, but this was a more studied, concentrated display by the Canberra showman, lit up by only the odd trick shot and rare underarm serve.

And when he did finally end up in a brief argument with the umpire over a line call in the final set, it did at least serve to fuel a late, unstoppable drive towards the last-eight as he played his best tennis of the match just when it seemed he might be struggling physically.

In the first set, he'd been taken aback by Nakashima's brilliant returning to suffer a set-losing break out of the blue at 5-4.

Alarm bells were ringing when he alerted the umpire he needed to see the doctor about his shoulder problem which had cropped up late in the first set.

Instead, Nakashima chucked in a terrible game with two double faults to give Kyrgios an early break and, after receiving treatment, he held serve comfortably to level the match.

In the pivotal third set, Kyrgios needed two more sessions of treatment from the physio to neck and shoulder but while he had evident problems hitting though the ball on his backhand, his serve - featuring 35 aces - invariably came to the rescue.

Nakashima, seeking to become the youngest American man since Andy Roddick in 2003 to reach the quarters, wasn't finished but Kyrgios raised his game thrillingly in the decider.

with AAP

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