Wimbledon

I'll ditch rap to give Nadal slap

2014-06-29 10:51
Nick Kyrgios (AP)

London - Australian teen sensation Nick Kyrgios reckons he can send world No 1 Rafael Nadal tumbling out of Wimbledon on Monday - as long as he steers clear of Canadian rapper Drake.

The world No 144, making his debut at the All England Club, is relishing the prospect of taking on the Spanish two-time champion and says he has nothing to lose in the battle for a place in the quarter-finals.

The 19-year-old is widely tipped as a star of the future and the chance to announce himself in style at Wimbledon has got the wildcard buzzing with excitement.

"I'm overwhelmed with happiness," he said.

"I never thought that I would be seeing Nadal in my fourth round Wimbledon in my 19th year. I thought it would take years and years of work to finally have an opportunity like that."

The shot at the 14-time Grand Slam champion should provide a measure of his progress.

"To think that it's going to happen is daunting, but so exciting, as well," he said.

"I have nothing to lose. Anything is possible. I'm just going to go out there and play my game. I think that's definitely enough to be competitive."

And the Canberra-born player reckons he can cause an upset. Asked if he thought he could beat Nadal, he simply said: "Yeah".

The youngest player left in the men's draw listens to music when he walks on court to get him in the mood, but said he might avoid playing some Drake before facing Nadal.

Kyrgios made it to the fourth round after beating Jiri Vesily, his fellow former junior world number one, 3-6, 6-3, 7-5, 6-2 on Saturday.

Kyrgios lost the first set against the Greek and blamed it on rapper's Drake's beats and rhymes.

"I came out really flat, so hopefully I won't listen to that again! It was actually Drake. Didn't do the job for me," he said.

Throughout his run, Kyrgios has been roared on by Aussie "fanatics", a noisy, colourful presence courtside whenever Australian players are in action at Wimbledon.

"They have been there every match going nuts. They give me a lot energy and spark," he said.

And Kyrgios claimed he was relishing the prospect of playing Nadal in front of 11 000 people on Court One, or 15 000 on Centre Court.

"Making my fourth round at a Grand Slam and the opportunity to play Rafa hopefully on Centre Court, it's an opportunity I'm just going to embrace," he said.

"I thrive on those opportunities to play in front of a big crowd. I love it. I will be interacting a bit with them. It's going to be really exciting. The crowds here are great. The fanatics are going to be going absolutely berserk. That will be a lot of fun."

Meanwhile supporters Down Under are also geeing up the last Australian standing in the singles from afar.

"My Facebook, my Twitter, my Instagram, is full of messages from people back home, Aussie fans. They are making me stay motivated. They are giving me 'good luck', 'keep going', all that sort of stuff," Kyrgios said.

It is just the ninth time that a wildcard player has reached the last 16 at Wimbledon in the post-1968 Open Era.

Whatever happens, Kyrgios is certain to break into the top 100 when the post-Wimbledon rankings come out.

"It's a great milestone. I will keep aiming higher and higher. Right now I won't put a number on it," he said.

Kyrgios reckons Nadal was in good shape but believes his serve can give him a toe-hold in the contest.

"Rafa is probably the fittest guy on tour, and one of the strongest, too. He will have no worries. I'm just going to go out there. It's grass, so it's a bit more forgiving on your body and the points are shorter," he said.

"My serve is going to be a massive, massive part of that match for me to get into the match. I have been serving really well, so that's going to be the main thing."

Read more on:    wimbledon  |  tennis
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