Sports

‘Don’t look at him’

'Don't look at him' thumbnail
Dan Quarrell

Eurosport expert Mats Wilander has given Nick Kyrgios’ opponents at Wimbledon some very clear advice: do not care about his antics or even look at him.

Kyrgios, who takes on Cristian Garin of Chile on Tuesday, is eyeing a spot in the semi-finals at the All England Club after having been the subject of a number of controversies throughout his impressive campaign.

The Australian said he finds criticism of his behaviour “funny” and thinks his Wimbledon run has made “many people upset” given his style and desire to upset the established order at the top of the men’s game.

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Wilander has given some advice to Garin – and indeed to any other opponent left in the draw that Kyrgios may face beyond the quarter-finals.

“You have to be prepared, you definitely have to be prepared,” said seven-time Grand Slam champion Wilander.

“You have to realise that when Kyrgios begins his controlled chaos, it is most probably going to mean that he plays better. The most important thing is to be prepared for that.

“That means, don’t worry about it, don’t care, don’t listen to what Nick is saying, basically don’t look at him. Play the tennis ball that is coming at you and know that the guy hitting it at you is one of the most talented players of all time.

“He is literally a genius when it comes to feel, tactics and hitting the right shot at the right time. You have just got to shut that out and put a blindfold on. Do what you can do as a player and don’t worry about what goes on on the other side.”

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On Monday, Wilander said: “I think those people are mostly people inside tennis who are afraid more people might start crossing the line; there are rules.

“Fans are more excited to have him in the tournament than probably any other player in the history of our sport apart from Roger Federer and Andy Murray at Wimbledon. People love Kyrgios here.”

Wilander added: “He’s more dedicated. You can see it physically, he’s in better shape. Mentally you can see it. He’s still Nick Kyrgios but he is focused on most of the points and is focused on winning. He was out there to win.

“Is this Nick Kyrgios that’s finally kind of reached his potential in terms of results, and potentially threatens the best players in the world in possibly going all the way or getting to a semi-final Slam, and maybe even having a chance to get to finals?

“I would have to say that is the one thing that I’m really looking forward to this week because you don’t know if this is what will happen. We might have a different Nick Kyrgios in the future than the one that we have seen for the last six, seven years.”

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Watch daily highlights from Wimbledon at 10pm on Eurosport 2 and discovery+ from June 27, as well as the two singles finals live on July 9 and 10.

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