Nick Kyrgios says nerves prevented him from playing to his full potential in his three-set demolition of Brazilian Rogerio Dutra Silva in the first round of the n Open on Monday night, even though to most his form looked impeccable.
Kyrgios toyed with his opponent at times in the 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 win, and set up a tricky second-round match with seasoned professional Viktor Troicki of Serbia.
Despite the ease with which he won, Kyrgios told reporters after the match he didn’t play as well as he had earlier in January when he won the Brisbane International.
“I went out there pretty nervous but I was hitting the ball well. To go out there in front of the crowd again and just try to play well … I’m happy to get through,” Kyrgios said.
“In Brisbane I was serving really, really well and I just thought I was hitting the ball a bit more freely. Obviously that comes down to a bit of nerves and I just tightened up a little bit but still managed to get it done.”
Kyrgios had no strapping on his knee on Monday night. At Brisbane he did, and at times during that tournament the knee seemed to trouble him.
“Yeah [my knee has settled down], I have had my physio here for the last four or five days and he’s been helping me every day and getting treatment … it’s feeling good,” he said.
Kyrgios will come up against world No.65 Troicki in the second round on Wednesday.
Troicki, 31, was two sets down against n Alex Bolt in his first-round match but rallied to win 6-7, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-4.
Kyrgios and Troicki have only played once previously, with Kyrgios winning in straight sets at the 2017 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event in Montreal, Canada.
Troicki’s highest ranking of world No.12 came in mid-2011 and he has been to the third round of the n Open four times, most recently in 2017.
He has been to the fourth round of the French Open three times and Wimbledon twice.
“I know what he is going to bring,” Kyrgios said. “He’s a tough competitor, he plays well in grand slams … he’s tricky.
“He’s got a good serve and he’s got a great backhand so you know he’s a journeyman, he has been on the tour for a long time, he’s won a lot of matches … he knows the ups and downs that come in a grand slam match.
“He came back [from two sets to love down] and won and that’s not easy to do … against an Aussie in .”
Kyrgios’ n compatriot Bernard Tomic failed to qualify for the n Open, the first time he has missed the event in nine years.
Tomic’s career is at a crossroads and Kyrgios said he’d heard from Tomic since his loss in qualifying on Sunday.
“Yeah, he sent me a message. He just said ‘good luck, I’ll see you soon’. I haven’t been talking to Bern that much, I don’t know what his plan is or what he is going to do. I just hope for the best for him, I guess.”
The press conference ended on a bizarre note when Kyrgios was asked about NFL player Colin Kaepernick.
A journalist asked him: “You’re friends with the American football player Colin Kaepernick, have been supportive of him in the past. Where are your thoughts on him not being re-signed by an American football team?”
To which Kyrgios responded: “I don’t think I’ve ever spoken a word to him in my life … I mean, where is that question even coming from? We’re at the n Open, man. Are we done?
“What’s next, ask me what colour I think the room is?”