Thursday, July 3, 2014 4:15 am
by Steven GRIFFITHS
LONDON – Australian teenager Nick Kyrgios admits his life will never be the same again after his fairytale Wimbledon campaign.
Kyrgios produced one of the greatest upsets in the history of the tournament when he defeated world number one Rafael Nadal on Centre Court on Tuesday.
Although he couldn’t replicate that effort 24 hours later in his four-set quarter-final loss against Canada’s Milos Raonic, the 19-year-old departs the All England Club suddenly established as a force to be reckoned with.
After needing a wildcard to compete at Wimbledon this year, Krygios’s ranking will jump next week from 144 to around 70, meaning he will fulfil his ambition of getting automatic entry into the Grand Slams and most other ATP tournaments.
“That was my goal, to be top 100 at the end of the year. It gives me a chance to have a really good schedule, play some tour events, and don’t worry about Futures and Challengers so much anymore,” he said.
“It’s been the best couple weeks of my life. Never did I think that I was ever going to make quarter-finals of Wimbledon and beat Nadal on Centre Court.
“It’s all happened pretty fast. I woke up this morning and it had sunk in. It was such a great achievement. That’s something that no one can take away from me.”
After such a thrilling display against Nadal, Krygios, the son of a Greek father and Malaysian mother, had hoped to extend his memorable first appearance at Wimbledon into the semi-finals.
But he admitted the mental and physical toll of overpowering the two-time Wimbledon champion had left him drained by the time he returned to action against eighth seed Raonic.
“It’s been so exhausting. I had nothing left to give,” Kyrgios said.
“That’s what Grand Slams do to you. It tells me there’s a lot of room for improvement.
“But at the same time, there’s something special I have that can make it deep into Grand Slams. I’m doing it at 19.”
Kyrgios, who had never gone past the second round of a Grand Slam before, clearly relished the Centre Court spotlight and he is already thirsting for another taste.
“You just want to put on such a show on those big courts that it just brings it out of you. I thought the way I played yesterday on Centre Court was probably the best tennis I ever played in my life,” he said.
“I think if I played Rafa somewhere in Europe on the backcourt of a clay court, Court 16, it would be a completely different story, because that stage sort of brings it out of you.”
His performances have earned praise from Australian legends like Rod Laver and Ken Rosewall, while Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Socceroos star Tim Cahill have sent messages of congratulations.
“I think I saw a tweet or a Facebook status by him (the Prime Minister). That was pretty cool,” he said.
“Tim Cahill actually wrote to me as well. So that was cool as well.
“I’ve noticed the change, especially from yesterday to today. In the first day I was walking around the crowds and no one noticed me at all.
“Then I was walking around the crowds yesterday and this morning and everyone’s noticing me.”