Nick Kyrgios returned for a matinee performance and then booked at least one more Wimbledon encore after beating Ugo Humbert in five dramatic sets.
The Australian showman had thrilled the Court One crowd when his delayed first-round match was moved under the roof on Tuesday evening – only to be halted when the 11pm curfew arrived with the score 3-3 in the final set.
Kyrgios returned at just after 3pm, and around 35 hugely entertaining minutes later he had wrapped up a 6-4 4-6 3-6 6-1 9-7 win.
Kyrgios, who had previously stayed in Australia all year due to Covid concerns and played just two events prior to the Championships, could be heard saying beforehand that he was “so tired”.
He also revealed how he fancied a beer at the Dog and Fox, the pub in Wimbledon Village where he had spent the evening ‘preparing’ for his meeting with Rafael Nadal two years ago.
The 26-year-old had to shrug off a nasty fall on the baseline when he was wrongfooted by a fine return from Humbert.
As the umpire rushed over Kyrgios writhed around for a few seconds before getting to his feet, towelling himself down and saying “good shot” to his opponent.
Slips on the grass surface have already accounted for Serena Williams and Adrian Mannarino this week.
Kyrgios said: “I think it was 6-6 in the fifth or something, where I was always going to get up and play.
“I made it that far. I haven’t been playing many tournaments. I’m here. No matter if it was something bad, I was always going to get up and play.
“With one leg, I was going to finish the match.”
Finish it he did, striking at 7-7 with a third break point which French 21st seed Humbert could only drop into the net.
Humbert forced two break-back points but Kyrgios saved both, the second with a scorching backhand down the line, and a massive serve down the ‘T’ wrapped up victory.
“Not too bad for a part-time player,” he said. “A lot of people were telling me there’s no chance, there’s no point in you going with that short preparation. I was hearing a load of things.
“I think it was (Brad) Gilbert telling me, ‘there’s no chance you can come off the couch and compete at this level against players’.
“I’m like, ‘dude, I know my game, I know how to play on grass’. I’m not scared of anyone in the draw.
“I know if I believe and I’m feeling good mentally, like, I know what I’m capable of.”