Nick Kyrgios has overcome a signature tantrum and six-month sabbatical from tennis to set up a compelling Wimbledon “to be continued”.
Kyrgios’s thrilling first-round Wimbledon encounter with talented young Frenchman Ugo Humbert was suspended at two sets apiece five minutes before 11pm local time because of a London curfew.
Kyrgios and Humbert were locked at 3-all in the deciding set when officials called time out on a rain-marred day two of the Championships.
A vocal advocate of the tour not going ahead during the coronavirus pandemic, Kyrgios is playing his first tournament outside Australia in 18 months.
Yet the mercurial talent displayed few signs of rust in winning the first set in sublime fashion. But he combusted after falling two sets to one behind, moaning about the apparent slower court speed.
“Guys, for you watching at home, it should be fast in here. It should be fast, That’s grasscourt tennis,” Kyrgios muttered. “They’ve made it slow. This isn’t grass anymore. This is slow. Slow. Try watering it. Make it a grass court again, thanks.”
But showing how much he wanted it, Kyrgios opened the fourth set in spectacular fashion.
After berating himself at the changeover and complaining about Humbert “playing too big”, he responded with three aces and another unreturnable serve hoping to make a statement stand.
It was more than a stand. Kyrgios broke Humbert in the fourth game, then again in the sixth to draw level at two sets all. But his momentum was halted when officials called a halt to the day’s play an hour before midnight at 6-4, 4-6, 3-6, 6-1, 3-3.