Nick Kyrgios
Nick Kyrgios

Newk: Kyrgios has Rafa on his radar

With Rafael Nadal in the second round his reward, John Newcombe tips Nick Kyrgios to dominate his opponent in the opening round of Wimbledon

Thompson, who is on a hot form streak, and Kyrgios have never officially clashed.

The reward for first-round victory, apart from prizemoney and rankings points, is a likely meeting with world No 2 Nadal.

Given the chequered past between Nadal and Kyrgios, who share a 3-3 head-to-head rivalry, Newcombe expects the erratic Kyrgios to pull out all stops against Thompson.

 

Nick Kyrgios shares a head-to-head rivalry with Rafael Nadal. Picture: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
Nick Kyrgios shares a head-to-head rivalry with Rafael Nadal. Picture: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

 

Rafael Nadal of Spain has been at odds with Kyrgios since the Aussie’s win in Acapulco. Picture: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
Rafael Nadal of Spain has been at odds with Kyrgios since the Aussie’s win in Acapulco. Picture: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

"I would imagine that he (Kyrgios) would see that draw, he would bust his guts to beat Jordan because he fancies himself against Rafa, especially on grass," Newcombe said.

"It could be an interesting match after all the talk.

"He seems to play his best tennis when he's got nothing to lose."

Nadal and Kyrgios have been at odds in the wake of the Australian's victory in Acapulco.

Nadal had the match in his keeping, only to be overrun by a rampant Kyrgios, who mixed raw power with under-armed serves to rattle the Spaniard.

 

Rafael Nadal of Spain gestures during the match against Nick Kyrgios. Picture: Hector Vivas/Getty Images
Rafael Nadal of Spain gestures during the match against Nick Kyrgios. Picture: Hector Vivas/Getty Images

 

 

Nadal made his feelings clear with a brusque post-match handshake before questioning Kyrgios' approach.

Kyrgios returned fire, describing Nadal as "super salty", while calling Nadal's uncle Toni an "idiot."

Nadal and Kyrgios famously clashed on Wimbledon's centre court in 2014, when a teenage Kyrgios rolled the world No 1.

Newcombe believes Kyrgios' career is still at the crossroads.

"He's been at one for a few years," Newcombe said.

"He got his ranking to No 13, that was a couple of years ago and now he's No 43.

"It kinda speaks for itself.

 

John Newcombe (pictured with Ashleigh Barty) says that Nick Kyrgios’ career is still at a crossroads. Picture: Michael Dodge/Getty Images
John Newcombe (pictured with Ashleigh Barty) says that Nick Kyrgios’ career is still at a crossroads. Picture: Michael Dodge/Getty Images

 

"He's 24 (years old), he should be reaching his peak.

"You don't know. You wouldn't know what was gonna happen.

"It's anyone's guess."

Aware of Kyrgios and Nadal's history, Thompson said he would "do whatever I can to stop it (another rematch) happening."

"It's always difficult playing a fellow Aussie, his serve is unreadable, but I'm going to go out there and do my best," he said.

Nadal starts against Japanese qualifier Yuichi Sugita.

Kyrgios, Thompson, Bernard Tomic, Alex de Minaur, Matt Ebden and John Millman start their campaigns on Tuesday.

Alexei Popyrin is the sole Australian male in action on Monday

News Corp Australia


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