The Nick Kyrgios circus rolled into round three at Wimbledon after a straight-sets victory over Italian Gianluca Mager.
Australian maverick Kyrgios wowed the Court Three crowd as he boomed down 29 aces in a 7-6 (7) 6-4 6-4 win.
But although the scoreline appeared pretty routine, nothing is entirely straightforward where Kyrgios is concerned.
He began a tight first set with two aces and an underarm serve in a comfortable hold but Mager, a solid if uninspiring opponent, stuck with the 26-year-old until the tie-break.
In between time, Kyrgios received a code violation for swearing, complained that Mager was getting lucky as return after return clipped the line, and moaned that the surface was like “playing at Roland Garros”.
While accepting coaching tips from a vocal female spectator, Kyrgios asked “was that OK?” after a winner, and he responded to a foot-fault call – which he naturally disputed – with a furious second-serve ace.
In the tie-break Kyrgios, who had not played a single match since February prior to coming to London, chased down a drop-shot before exclaiming: “I haven’t stretched that much in six months!”
Set point was brought up with a stunning forehand winner from a Mager volley, and when the Italian went long his resistance went with it.
“The first set was huge,” Kyrgios said afterwards. “I reckon he went out there with a game style knowing if I play my normal game style, I’m going to get crushed.
“So he played a game style where he didn’t even let me get into rallies much. He was serving big on first and second, trying to get the first strike in whenever he could. He was hitting massive off both sides.”
On match point Kyrgios went over to his impromptu coach and asked where he should serve.
“I have people in the front row literally coaching me, like literally telling me ‘that’s all right, good ball, great return, it will work next time, good depth’, he added.
“I’m like, Dude, what is going on out here? It’s good.”
Having taken the advice on board he went out wide, Mager went long and the Kyrgios Wimbledon odyssey rumbled on.