WIMBLEDON, England (AP) —
Nick Kyrgios stepped into a
nearly full Centre Court to polite applause at precisely 1:30 p.m. on Monday, exited about 3 1/2 hours later to a louder ovation and, somehow,
the 100-year-old stadium survived the experience.
In the warmup period,
Kyrgios flicked a ball between his legs and closed with an underarm serve, hardly standard procedure. During the 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (2), 3-6, 6-2 victory at
Wimbledon over unseeded American Brandon Nakashima that followed, putting Kyrgios in a Grand Slam quarterfinal for the first time in 7 1/2 years, he tried those sorts of trick shots a few times. Afterward, he ditched his rule-conforming but backward, brim-bent white cap and white shoes in favor of red versions.
"Because," he explained when pressed about the sartorial choices, "I do what I want."
Yet, somehow, those seated in the Royal Box never turned their backs in protest. And, somehow, the grass-court tournament that dates to the 1880s did not grind to a halt.
Maybe that's simply because, in addition to smacking 35 aces and "ripping the ball from the baseline" — to use Nakashima's words — despite a shoulder that hurt so much he took painkilling pills and received repeated treatment from a trainer, Kyrgios displayed a much quieter, much calmer demeanor than the guy who earned fines of $10,000 for spitting in the direction of a heckling spectator at the end of his first-round match and $4,000 for an audible obscenity during his tempestuous win against No. 4 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas in the third round.