WATCH: The Break: Rafael Nadal pulls out of Wimbledon, sending Nick Kyrgios into first Grand Slam singles final

There are a lot of tennis watchers surprised that Nick Kyrgios is in the final of Wimbledon, and that includes Nick Kyrgios.

"I saw some of the professionals walking around and I'd be a junior here, and I never thought I'd be playing for the actual men's title,” the 27-year-old Australian told press at Wimbledon. “I feel like it's the pinnacle of tennis.”

The talented but erratic Kyrgios went through following Rafael Nadal's withdrawal from their semifinal match with an abdominal injury.

But when he meets Novak Djokovic in the final tomorrow, he won't exactly be going for his first Grand Slam title—just his first in singles. Kyrgios won the Australian Open men’s doubles this season playing alongside compatriot Thanasi Kokkinakis, and he says that experience has come into play this fortnight.


"I think the doubles in Australia has really helped me at a Grand Slam level,” he said. “Even though it's doubles and... you don't need obviously the physical capacity to win a doubles Grand Slam that you do the singles one.

“But I felt like just the kind of mundane, you win a match, you have a day off, you practice, you go again during a two-week period. I realized in Melbourne it's a long time.

“I didn't realize that these days off and the practice is so crucial. Like, it's just like, I beat Paul Jubb 7-5 in the fifth set in my first round, and now I'm in the Wimbledon final. You just have to ride the waves, roll with the punches."

That's a big contrast with the way he's done it in previous years, having never got beyond the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam in his previous 29 appearances.

“If I made a third, fourth [round] or quarterfinals, I’d be on my phone a lot, I would be engaging online a lot, would be keen to go to dinner and explore or just do things," he said. "I feel like it’s literally just been as simple as, ‘Get some rest.’ Like, ‘Nick, stay in the house’. That’s not always been the easiest thing for me during my career."


Kyrgios never got beyond the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam in his previous 29 appearances.

Kyrgios never got beyond the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam in his previous 29 appearances.

But Nadal's withdrawal from the semifinal, while providing some extra rest, was a break in exactly that rhythm.

"You kind of play a match at a Grand Slam, then you know deep down that you have one day to wind down and let yourself relax and then go again," Kyrgios said. "I'm going to try and have a bit more of an extended practice because that can throw everyone off."

The pressure of the finals is also different—as he found the night he got there.

"I probably got an hour's sleep just with everything, like the excitement,” Kyrgios said. “I was already feeling so nervous, and I don't feel nervous usually.”

But it hasn't been the usual Kyrgios during these two weeks at Wimbledon, either.