Nick Kyrgios had played only six games in 2019 before facing Rafael Nadal on Wednesday night at the Acapulco ATP 500. Kyrgios more than made up for lost time by eliminating the tournament's top seed in an electric epic. three hours at the signing Kyrgios. – with a controversial welterweight.
What is curious is that the acts that many people – including Nadal – considered inflammatory or unsportsmanlike were not the kind of indefensible transgressions that earned Kyrgios fame.
Wednesday's controversial discussions during an exciting match (Kyrgios rejected three points before winning 3-6, 7-6, 7-6) constituted a stopping point between the first and second sets, the service " drop shot "at the armpits that he had tried, and a complaint about the time that Nadal was taking between the points – the last two in the third set.
Nick Kyrgios once again served Rafael Nadal, saying that he did not want to "listen at all" to the world number two after the Spaniard had said that he needed to show more respect for himself, his opponents and the crowd.
The US Open said in a statement that Mohamed Lahyani had left his chair to talk to Nick Kyrgios because of the noise level in the stadium and concerns for his health.
Nadal burned after the match saying to reporters: "[Kyrgios] is a player who has a huge talent. He could win Grand Slam tournaments and fight in the top positions of the standings, but he has a reason why he is where he is (ATP rank: No. 72). He lacks respect for the public, the rival and himself. "
Nadal, who rarely criticizes his peers in public, only gave voice to the feelings shared by many tennis fans and insiders. Kyrgios is an aggressive and impetuous 23-year-old who often misses a filter. He treated his highly respected rivals with insolence, sometimes failed to do his best, and made disparaging remarks about his profession – while continuing to reap the benefits of the lavish lifestyle that it brings him. It belongs squarely to the anti-model tradition.
Admittedly, Kyrgios again sucked all the available oxygen in this match, which was to irritate, at best, Nadal. But the most remarkable actions of Kyrgios were tenable.
Nadal, pushed by the partisan crowd, won the first set with relative ease. Kyrgios then took a break, which is a common feature of the game nowadays. Kyrgios told the coach that he felt "sick" and had low back pain. A burning microphone caught him saying that he would quit, but the fact that it would lead the media to "blow up".
Kyrgios has pioneered the game. At the beginning of the third set, he tried a second serve under the arms, in order to take advantage of Nadal's return position in the depths of his own backyard. The gambit has produced a double fault and a controversial debate on Twitter. Some consider that the underarm service is not athletic, but it does not break any rules. Many players have tried it. Kyrgios defended the shot in a Facebook response to a fan:
"I mean, is not it the idea of serving where the person can not get the ball? Trying to get an ace?" Kyrgios wrote, adding a gif of actor Hugh Laurie with a shrug.
The other important element was the lawsuit filed by Kyrgios in the third set with the chair umpire about the known slow speed of Nadal. The "king of clay" likes to use the 25 seconds allocated by the ATP chronometer, but Kyrgios prefers a steady pace to the service. However, the age-old rules of tennis stipulate that the game runs at the pace of the server.
Most opponents of Nadal accept his pace, even when serving. No Kyrgios.
"His way of playing is very slow between points," Kyrgios told reporters. "The rule in the book says that he has to play at the speed of the server, but Rafa has his speed every time [receiving or serving]so I will not comment on it. "
Fans and experts can discuss shades of rules as well as Kyrgios' actions, attitudes and manners. But it is clear that Kyrgios has not broken any rules in this match. However, he could have led viewers dangerously close to a cardiac arrest with his dazzling shot and his moving return.
"It's one of the best moods I've ever played," Kyrgios said afterwards, although it's been raining several times. "The majority of the crowd was turning to Rafa, he'll have it wherever he goes, he's an amazing player, it's one of the best of all time." just to be part of that atmosphere … it was a game I will never forget. "
It is unlikely that Nadal will forget it either. Especially when the clay season is beautiful.