‘I really did want that match’: Nick Kyrgios laments way in which he reached Wimbledon final

London: Wimbledon finalist Nick Kyrgios laments the rare and unusual way he reached his first major final – a walkover courtesy of Rafael Nadal’s shock pre-semi withdrawal – declaring he’d been intensely focused on the third chapter of his rivalry with the Spaniard at the All England Club.

The unseeded Australian said he found about the news of Nadal’s decision to pull out due to an abdominal injury while he was at dinner on Thursday night, gifting him an immediate progression to Sunday’s final but, regrettably, a “shocking” and “restless” night of sleep followed.

“It’s not the way I wanted to get to the final,” Kyrgios said.

Nick Kyrgios practices ahead of his Wimbledon final.Credit:Getty Images

“As a competitor, I really did want that match. We’ve both taken a win against each other at this tournament. I really did want to see how the third chapter was going to go.

“Obviously, you never want to see someone like that, [someone] so important to the sport, go down with an injury like that.”

Kyrgios said he hadn’t had the chance to talk directly to the Australian Open and Roland Garros champion.

“He’s just played so much tennis. He’s had a gruelling season,” Kyrgios said. “I just hope he recovers. I’m sure I’ll play him again on a big stage.”

Kyrgios and Nadal had split their two previous meetings on the London grass, with the Australian famously beating the Spaniard at his Wimbledon debut in 2014.

The controversial Australian also lamented the lack of support from former Australian men’s tennis champions during his topsy-turvy charge to the tournament decider, but Davis Cup captain and 2002 Wimbledon champion Lleyton Hewitt had been the exception, he said.

Asked about his standing in the game and whether he was poised to help fill the inevitable gap in tennis caused by the eventual retirements of the big three – Djokovic, Nadal and Roger Federer – Kyrgios was not looking forward to the scrutiny.

“If I ever win a grand slam trophy, please don’t put the pressure on me to win another one,” he said.

World No.40 Kyrgios is the lowest-ranked and first unseeded Wimbledon men’s singles finalist since fellow Australian Mark Philippoussis, ranked 48, against Roger Federer in 2003.

Kyrgios is also the lowest-ranked grand slam men’s finalist since world No.54 Marcos Baghdatis at the 2006 Australian Open.

On Thursday, Nadal, 36, fronted a packed media conference to explain his withdrawal, less than 24 hours before he would have been on centre court against Kyrgios.

The superstar said he had spent most of the day weighing up the call. “I have a tear in the muscle in the abdominal,” Nadal told reporters.

Watch all the action from Wimbledon ad-free, live & on demand on Stan Sport, with Centre Court matches streaming in 4K UHD. Coverage of select matches commences on 9GEM from 9:30pm AEST each night.

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