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What you need to know about the third round match between Kyrgios and Tsitsipas at Wimbledon
The heavily anticipated third-round clash between Nick Kyrgios and Stefanos Tsitsipas has come to fruition at SW19. Here’s what you need to know about their fourth meeting.
It was the elephant in the room. Not long after Stefanos Tsitsipas finished off his 6-2, 7-6, 7-5 win over Australia’s Jordan Thompson on Thursday, the Greek was asked about his next opponent, Nick Kyrgios.
Before he could answer, a collective groan went through the crowd. Kyrgios is the man that nobody wants to face, especially now that he’s gliding into form on Wimbledon’s grass.
“Well,” Tsitsipas started, before a trademark pause, as the crowd burst into laughter while waiting for his next words. “It’s going to be a challenging one for grass, for sure, he’s a difficult opponent on this surface.”
Cue more applause…
The enthusiasm for a fourth career meeting between Kyrgios and Tsitsipas was palpable the minute the Wimbledon draw was revealed last week, now that it’s official, the buzz is getting louder.
Tsitsipas has beaten Kyrgios – at Laver Cup
According to records, Kyrgios owns a 3-1 lifetime record against Tsitsipas, but the Greek’s only win over the enigmatic Aussie took place at Laver Cup, with Tsitsipas winning 6-4, 6-4 last year in Boston.
If we look only at their tour-level meetings, it is the Aussie who holds the decided edge.
Kyrgios v Tsitsipas head-to-head
- 2019 Citi Open SF | Kyrgios d. Tsitsipas 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(7)
- 2020 ATP Cup Round Robin | Kyrgios d. Tsitsipas 7-6(7), 6-7(3), 7-6(5)
- 2021 Laver Cup Round Robin | Tsitsipas d. Kyrgios 6-4, 6-4
- 2022 Halle Round 2 | Kyrgios d. Tsitsipas 5-7, 6-2, 6-4
Perhaps most telling is their most recent meeting, and only battle on grass. Kyrgios won that match in three sets, but it could have gone either way.
“Stef is one of the best players in the world at the moment and he’s going to have some amazing results and I’m sure many, many Grand Slams,” said Kyrgios after the match. “I don’t know if I can say the same for me, but I’m happy to still be able to produce this level with the tournaments I play. It is a testament to how hard I do work when I’m not playing.”
Kyrgios changing his tune at Wimbledon
Kyrgios has long shied away from talk of him potentially winning Slams, and often stressed that he doesn’t need to win major titles to be happy, but this year at Wimbledon he does seem a bit more keen at making a significant result.
He said this after his Day 4 trouncing of Serbia’s Filip Krajinovic on No.2 Court.
“I’ve been working hard and you know, as I said, I’ve been preparing for this tournament. It’s been circled on my calendar pretty much all year and I’m so excited to be here again. It’s genuinely a tournament I think it’s my best chance to win a Grand Slam, of all the four.”
That statement raised some eyebrows at SW19 and it is a definite signal of intent and indication of how confident the Aussie is at the moment.
The other eye-opening development is the fact that Kyrgios has pulled out of the doubles draw with his partner Thanasi Kokkinakis. He wants to put everything he has into his singles.
“I played nearly four hours in my first round,” Kyrgios said. “Me personally, it was just too much time on court. Today I made up for that. But I want to put my singles as my priority. I’m doing what’s best for my body.”
Tsitsipas – more committed to grass than ever
Kyrgios isn’t the only player intently focused on improving his performance at Wimbledon this year. Tsitsipas has made it a point to progress on the surface in 2022 after a disappointing Wimbledon last year. Much of the Greek’s failure in 2021 was due to the fact that he didn’t play at all on grass prior to arriving at the championships.
After a run to the Roland-Garros final in 2021 he needed time to rest and rehabilitate.
He was promptly bounced from the first-round by Frances Tiafoe in a Wimbledon shocker.
This year Tsitsipas played a full grass-court season and made significant strides. He is now 8-2 on grass this season and riding a six-match winning streak after claiming the title at Mallorca last week. Tsitsipas is into the third round at Wimbledon for the first time since he reached the round of 16 on his second Wimbledon appearance in 2018.
“It has been challenging,” Tsitsipas said. “Last year it was a completely different story than it is this year. I was not really that involved behind the ball last year so it’s great to see that evolution happen within a year – I’m feeling at home playing on grass, I’m feeling that it really suits my game perfectly. I’m happy when I see myself play that level of tennis, like today, as long as everything works I’m happy to keep putting the commitment and see where it leads me.”
Where it leads is obvious. An absolutely thrilling week one battle between two of the most captivating players in men’s tennis.
Get your popcorn ready.