Nick Kyrios may be a longshot to even earn a shot against Rafael Nadal in a semifinal at Wimbledon.
But the 27-year-old Australian suddenly moved up to play in Sunday’s final, meaning the opportunity is there for a player not named Djokovic, Nadal, or Roger Federer to become Wimbledon men’s singles champion this year.
The controversies and the eccentric behavior will continue to hound Kygrios heading into the final.
But the Canberra native knows this window to snatch a major might not come often, and he has to make the most of it to even try to win it all at the All England Club for the first time.
IS KYRGIOS AN UNDERDOG OR THE VILLAIN?
Fans who often root for the underdog may still back Kyrgios after he became the first Australian to reach a semifinal in a major since Lleyton Hewitt at the 2005 US Open.
But how does Kygrios be portrayed by fans when he’s the last obstacle to world No.3 Novak Djokovic’s bid to claim his 21st major and seventh Wimbledon trophy on Sunday?
The Canberra native was diplomatic and displayed sympathy after he learned that Nadal officially withdrew from their semifinals matchup due to his lingering abdominal injury on Thursday.
“Different players, different personalities” Kygrios said on Instagram. “I hope your (Nadal) recovery goes well and we all hope to see you healthy soon. Till next time…”
Kygrios might not sound as a villain after his recent statement on Nadal. But that could change dramatically if he’s to be asked if DJokovic will be his confirmed opponent in the final.
TIME TO SNAP OUT OF THE ‘BIG THREE’ FATIGUE
Kygrios might not be the player most fans want to see winning a major other than the “Big Three” of Djokovic, Nadal or Federer. But fans who want a mercurial player as the perfect foil to Djokovic could get to like Kygrios a little bit more.
Wimbledon is the best chance for Kygrios to win a major at a time when Nadal and Federer are injured, world No.1 Daniil Medvedev of Russia is banned from playing at the All-England Club this year, and everyone else in the top 10 all but gone.
Nadal’s bid to claim his third-straight major this year after winning the Australian and French Open ended in frustration the moment the Spaniard barely won his quarterfinal match against Taylor Fritz, 6-3 5-7 6-3 5-7 6-7 (4-10), to reach the last four.
KYGRIOS NO ROLE MODEL BUT A COMPETITOR
Fans may judge Kygrios for his checkered past, but make no mistake that the Australian has the hops to compete against the best with the right mindset.
Kygrios, who is facing an August 2 court date as he was accused of assaulting his former girlfriend, had an impressive game in his 6-4, 6-4, 7-6(5) victory over Chilean Christian Garin in the quarterfinals to reach the last four.
The assault charges are just the latest for Kygrios’ antics that included court meltdowns, tanking accusations and smashed rackets in the ATP Tour.
EVERYTHING’S NOT LOST FOR KYRGIOS
The window for winning a major might not become any better than this year for Kygrios, but youth is on his side to work on his game after Sunday’s final.
The 27-year-old Kygrios has youth on his side since he started playing as a junior at 13 years old.
From being a men’s doubles specialist with partner and friend Thanasi Kokkinakis, whom he won a men’s doubles title at the Australian Open this year, Kygrios is ready to move to the next level on his own.