'I really wanted this game': Nick Kyrgios regrets avoiding Rafael Nadal

‘I really wanted this game’: Nick Kyrgios regrets avoiding Rafael Nadal

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He obviously couldn’t have known it, but by beating Cristian Garin on Wednesday afternoon, Nick Kyrgios not only qualified for his first Grand Slam semi-final but also for his first final. Rafael Nadal’s package, which he should have found on Center Court on Friday afternoon, made him take a giant leap without even having to fight. It was not in front of the Mallorcan that he appeared, but in front of the press, to hold his pre-final press conference.

It is therefore a somewhat ambivalent feeling that inhabits him at this time. On the one hand, the joy of finding a very “small” victory of a capital title. On the other, a certain frustration. “I’m obviously happy and proud to be in the final for the first time, but at the time I was a little sad, he confided. As a competitor, I really wanted this game. This ain’t the way I wish I’d gotten it. “

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This duel, he had prepared for it instantly as soon as his quarter-final was over, even if, at that time, Nadal was struggling against Taylor Fritz. “As soon as I beat Garin I knew there was a high probability of me playing Rafahe slips. I really wanted to know how our third chapter was going to go (Kyrgios had beaten Nadal in the quarter-finals in 2014, before the Spaniard won in the second round in 2019, Ed). All my energy was focused on my match against him and how I was going to face him tactically, on the emotions I was going to feel when I entered the court. I just hope he recovers.”

Nick Kyrgios and Rafael Nadal.

Credit: Getty Images

short night

Previously, the Australian had already posted a message on his social networks to the champion with 22 Grand Slam titles, with a photo of a handshake between the two men and these words: “Different players, different personalities. Hope your recovery is going well and we all hope to see you back healthy – see you next time.”

It is obviously a godsend for Kyrgios to be able to reach the final directly. A rare helping hand from fate. This is only the very second time that this situation has occurred in the Open era, from 1968 to the present day (after the 1992 Australian Open, when Jim Courier took advantage of Richard Krajicek’s package). Despite everything, the interested party sees it as a small disadvantage compared to his rhythm in this tournament, since four days will separate his last match from that of Sunday for the title. “I was really good in my routine and it’s definitely a big change to have so many rest days. I’m going to do a much longer practice today (Friday) to try to simulate a game as much as possible“, he explains.

A Grand Slam final can be won or lost in good part before playing it so, faced with what is a dive into an unknown world for him, the native of Canberra will have to, with his staff, try to master as much as possible all the elements. Nick Kyrgios does not hide it, he already feels caught up in stress. Unless it’s excitement. Or both. In any case, after learning like everyone else at the start of the evening of Nadal’s package, he had all the trouble in the world to find sleep. He slept only one hour in the night from Thursday to Friday. “I already felt so nervous“, he admitted.

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