Nick Kyrgios in the second round of Wimbledon 2022, London, UK
Nick Kyrgios in the second round of Wimbledon 2022, London, UK | (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Tennis | Wimbledon 2022 | Day Eight Talking Points: Nick Kyrgios looking to seize opportunity after overcoming injury problems to reach quarter-finals

By Tony Fairbairn at Wimbledon

  • Nick Kyrgios admits he is looking to seize the opportunity as he overcame a shoulder injury to beat Brandon Nakashima in five sets.
  • Kyrgios will face Cristian Garin who edged past Alex De Minaur in a fifth set tiebreak
  • Elena Rybakina talks confidence and feeling relaxed after reaching quarter-finals
LONDON, ENGLAND – Nick Kyrgios is looking to seize a big opportunity as he overcame shoulder problems and Brandon Nakashima to reach the Wimbledon quarter-finals.


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Kyrgios ready to seize opportunity

Our day eight talking points can only start at one place as Nick Kyrgios once again took to court following his controversial third round contest against Stefanos Tsitsipas on Saturday evening. This time Kyrgios took on a much different opponent in the form of American baseliner Brandon Nakashima who had already knocked out Denis Shapovalov in this tournament.

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Many expected this to be a comfortable victory for the Australian but also the type of match that an unfocused Kyrgios would have lost in the past. This match was anything but straightforward as the Australian was struggling with a shoulder injury right from the opening set. However Kyrgios overcame that and a brilliant performance from Nakashima to defeat the American in a five set battle. After the match Kyrgios praised Nakashima and told the press that he was expecting his physical problems:

“I was really impressed with just Brandon today. Honestly, I didn’t watch too much of his matches before today. Obviously I looked at the draw. Looked at some of the people he beat. Shapovalov, he won juniors here, so I knew that Nakashima was going to bring a pretty good level today,” Kyrgios said.

“I just felt so many areas of his game were impressive for me. Second serve was unbelievable. I wasn’t able to attack it. His backhand was so good. Any time he got on a return, I felt like he pushed it back in play. For me, I knew from the get-go I wasn’t playing as well as I would have liked.

“I wasn’t feeling the ball like I was against Tsitsipas or Krajinovic. I knew I had to keep my head down and just battle today. It was a good mental performance. At the end of the fourth, complete rope-a-dope tactic. I just threw away that service game. I knew he was in a rhythm. He was starting to get on top of me. I kind of just wanted to throw him off a little bit. It worked.

“I woke up after Tsitsipas and had some shoulder pain. I’ve played so much tennis in the last month and a half, so I almost knew that it was time for my body to start feeling some niggles.

“I think that’s normal. At this time in the event I don’t think anyone is feeling 100%. Obviously Rafa, you see him dealing with something niggling all the time. I just don’t think there’s anyone feeling 100%. It’s just something I manage.

“Mentally I feel like I just deal with these things a lot better now. Earlier in my career — I knew today I wasn’t feeling 100%. But mentally I stayed quite calm, you know, knowing I wasn’t able to serve full out for the whole five sets. Obviously I had to take painkillers.”

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It wasn’t a vintage performance from Kyrgios but at this stage of the tournament it doesn’t need to be as the Australian is into his first grand slam singles quarter-final in seven years. The Australian will play Cristian Garin in the next round and now the Australian seizes an opportunity to achieve something special:

“When you see Berrettini not there, it’s a sigh of relief for every player in the draw, obviously a finalist of Wimbledon. I think probably arguably top three players on grass in the world, Berrettini, for sure,” Kyrgios said when talking about the draw.

“I look at it as a big opportunity. Garin is obviously playing great tennis. I walked on Centre Court today with seeing the score two sets to love de Minaur. They were in a battle. I was expecting to play Alex. I think Alex is a bit more comfortable on the grass. Then when I walked off the court and I got told it was Garin. It was surprising.

“But I look at it as an opportunity. But I need to do so many things before that match to get ready. I need to rest, recover, eat right, get good sleep. There’s so many things, so many steps before I go out there and compete again.

“I’m not thinking about lifting a trophy or making semi-finals or making the final. I’m just thinking about my habits every day, just trying to put in a good performance on the court, then put in a good practice session, try to stay positive, try to really separate — you know, once I’m off the court, enjoy time with my team, my girlfriend, and just really enjoy that, then get into the game mode. I’m not thinking about anything ahead or any goals like that. I’m just really trying to stay in the moment.”

Kyrgios will look to prepare for Garin on Wednesday in the last eight with a victory for the Australian seeing him into a grand slam singles semi-final for the first time in his career.



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Garin produces comeback to defeat De Minaur

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Speaking of Garin the Chilean will play Kyrgios after producing an extraordinary comeback over Alex De Minaur. Garin was down and out at two sets to love down but there was no quit from him as he came back to defeat the 19th seed in a fifth set tiebreak on Court Two. This is the first time that Garin is into a grand slam quarter-final and in his press conference he described the scenario a dream especially as it’s at Wimbledon:

“Yeah, is something very special for me. Wimbledon I said, I said this many times, is my favourite tournament. Every time that I play this tournament is something special I feel,” Garin admitted after the match.

“To be in the quarterfinals here is a dream. I will try to enjoy it. I will try to give my best in the next round. But I think from the beginning of the tournament I been enjoying. I been working hard, as well. The tournaments before Wimbledon on grass I didn’t play well, but I work so hard to be in good shape in this week. I’m having the results that I want now.”

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As for De Minaur it’s a disappointing end to a good grass court season for the Australian who reached the semi-finals in Eastbourne before Wimbledon. After the match the 19th seed said he must practice pressure points after not converting break points in the third set:

“Because I didn’t play the important points right,” De Minaur when asked why he lost the match.

“It’s been kind of a recurring sort of event for a while now, so it’s something I’ve got to improve on. I mean, at the end of the day, two sets to love up, had breakpoints in the third, had match points in the fifth. I mean, yeah, match was full of chances, that’s for sure.

“I mean, it’s just a couple tough, tough matches where it’s kind of been a same recurring event. Momentum kind of feels like it’s going the opposite way than it should. Yes, it is work I’ve got to put in. Whether it’s just having a different mindset on those certain types of points or just tactically and decision-making.”


Rybakina feeling relaxed ahead of quarter-finals

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Finally Elena Rybakina has finally gone deep at Wimbledon and she sealed it with an impressive straight sets win over Petra Martic. The Kazakh is enjoying her best spell on the grass and after the match she told the press what the secret was to performing so well at Wimbledon this year:

“In the end just with every match, of course I’m getting more confidence,” Rybakina said.

“Maybe also something help me bit, I was more relaxed. I’m still more relaxed, enjoying my time here. Yes, I knew that the preparation is not the greatest. I was not feeling well the other months. I was suffering from the allergies, COVID earlier this year. It just kept on happening some issues. So now I’m just happy that no matter how I play, maybe it’s not the best, best shape physically, shots-wise, but overall I’m just happy that I’m managing to win these close matches.”

Rybakina has a big opportunity to reach the semi-finals as she takes on Ajla Tomljanovic in the last eight with the Australian defeating Alize Cornet in the last 16. After the match Rybakina described Tomljanovic as an aggressive player:

“Very aggressive player. Very good serve. Also played against Ajla. Now it’s never easy matches, so the most important to focus on my game.”

That match will take place on Wednesday with the winner having to play the semi-final the next day on the Thursday. The other quarter-final on Wednesday will be between Amanda Anisimova and Simona Halep who defeated Harmony Tan and Paula Badosa respectively in straight sets.




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