Nick Kyrgios has opened up about the difficulty of bouncing back from his Wimbledon loss to Novak Djokovic after a successful return to singles play at the Citi Open in Washington.
In a dominant and emotionally controlled performance, Kyrgios beat America’s Marcos Giron 6-3 6-2 in his first singles match since the Wimbledon final last month.
The victory showed he will be a force at the US Open later this month but the 27-year-old admitted it had been “extremely hard” to recover from losing his first grand slam singles final.
“It took me a while to get over that loss,” Kyrgios said.
“Ever since I picked up a racquet, that’s always been the goal that I was told, (make) a Wimbledon final, a Wimbledon championship, that’s … the highest accolade you can achieve.
“And I was so close I almost tasted it. So it was really hard for me to stomach that loss but I feel like I’ve done everything I can to bounce back, I’ve been training hard, my body’s feeling good and I’m serving great, so we’ll see how it goes.”
A former winner of the Washington Open, Kyrgios said there were nerves returning to the venue and was pleased with how he overcame a slow start against Giron.
“I won the tournament in 2019, seeing my name up on the stadium (before today’s game) and knowing that I didn’t play well here at all last year – I lost first round.
“I was just going through such a dark time in my life and I’m just so happy to be here with my team and the love and support I’m getting from the crowd, I’m just really happy to be here and playing some good tennis again.”
Kyrgios has talked about his desire to handle the pressure moments better and that showed in Washington, where he came through a tight point midway through the first set without losing his cool.
Despite swatting a ball out of the stadium at 3-3 40-40, earning a warning, he went on to win the game – and dominate the rest of the opening set and the match.
Kyrgios revealed on Wednesday morning he would skip the Laver Cup to spend more time with family.
“No Laver Cup for me this year!!!” Kyrgios posted on Instagram.
“Just letting you all know. Gotta have that home with my family and beautiful girlfriend.”
It’s a disappointment for fans of Team World, who had watched the Aussie play in all four previous editions of the competition.
Kyrgios, who is also playing doubles in Washington, teaming up with American Jack Sock after winning the Atlanta Open doubles with hanasi Kokkinakis at the weekend, will continue his singles run against 14th seed Tommy Paul on Thursday (AEST).
AUSSIE ROUT AS DE MINAUR, SPECIAL KS WIN AGAIN
Australian No.1 Alex de Minaur is on the verge of re-entering the top 20, only four weeks out from the US Open after winning the Atlanta Open for the second time.
The 23-year-old powered to his sixth career ATP title – all at 250 level – and first for 2022, with a 6-3 6-3 defeat of American Jenson Brooksby in 91 minutes.
de Minaur’s victory preceded Australian Open champions Thanasi Kokkinakis and Nick Kyrgios claiming the Atlanta doubles final 7-6 (7-4) 7-5 over countrymen Jason Kubler and John Peers.
Kyrgios and Kokkinakis have now won 14 of 16 matches together this season, including reaching the Miami Masters semi-finals as well as their maiden grand slam title.
de Minaur’s victory was his second title in Atlanta having also won the singles title in 2019, beating another American, Taylor Fritz, before going on to make the last 16 at that year’s US Open, which begins at the end of August.
The tournament wasn’t held the following season because of the Covid-19 pandemic, while de Minaur skipped last year’s edition while recovering from the virus.
Fellow Australian and close friend Matt Reid stepped in to coach him for the week, with his usual mentor, Adolfo Gutierrez, to link up with him at this week’s ATP 500 event at Washington.
Australian Davis Cup assistant coach Jaymon Crabb also supported him in Atlanta.
“My coach (Gutierrez) is currently traveling to Washington. He’s on the plane and hasn’t been able to watch the final, so hopefully when he lands he’ll get a nice, little notification on his phone,” de Minaur said.
“I’ve got Matt Reid over there, who’s helped me out this week. He’s made time out of his very busy schedule to come out here and help me out and we’re undefeated as a team, so thank you very much.
“Jaymon Crabb’s here on Davis Cup business but he’s (also) put in a lot of hours in the hot, hot Atlanta summer.”
Third-seeded de Minaur proved far too strong for Brooksby in their first meeting, breaking the world No.43 four times while dropping serve himself just once.
The match turned in the Australian star’s favor in the sixth game of the opening set when he snatched a 4-2 lead, after staving off a pair of break points three games earlier.
That was enough for de Minaur, who came from a set down in the previous two rounds, to take a one-set lead before the rivals traded breaks to start the second set.
Neither player faced another break point until the seventh game, when de Minaur wore down Brooksby with some extended rallies before the American dumped tired consecutive forehands into the net to concede serve.
The result will see the Australian rise from his current ranking of 30 to 21 – and within sight of his career-high ranking of 15.
de Minaur reached the fourth round at the Australian Open and Wimbledon this year but will try to at least match his career-best quarter-final run at the 2020 US Open when he competes in New York.
Kyrgios and Kokkinakis smashed 15 aces past Kubler and Peers and converted the only break of the match in the final game to seal a tight straight-sets victory.
It was an unlikely turn of events for Wimbledon finalist Kyrgios, who withdrew before his first-round singles clash in Atlanta with a left knee soreness but continued in the doubles.