Nick Kyrgios’ blockbuster against Daniil Medvedev was one of the most bizarre moments of the US Open.
The 27-year-old eventually won the match in four sets. However, he cost himself a breakpoint chance of 30-all on Medvedev’s serve at 1-0 in the third set. The front-runner drove a volley high into the air and the ball clearly wasn’t going to make it to Kyrgios’ side. Instead of bouncing it and winning the point, the 23rd seed ran across the field and knocked the ball out of the air before sticking his index finger in the air to celebrate.
The chair umpire correctly awarded the point to Medvedev, who then held the service game.
“I think tonight I probably played the most blunt game of all time. I thought it was legal to be honest. I really thought it was legal,” Kyrgios said in an interview with ESPN. “I thought I was playing in the concrete streets of my suburb in Canberra. That’s something I would do there and I realized it wasn’t legal. You can see my face… I was so happy. I was like, ‘That’s the best shot ever’ and it wasn’t legal. But it was fun.”
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It looked like this would be a critical moment in the game that could have tipped the action in Medvedev’s favour. Instead, the Australian earned a service break in his next return game and never looked back.
“I honestly think that was the turning point,” Kyrgios said.
During Kyrgios’ press conference, he was in a reflective mood. The 27-year-old has been playing some of the best tennis of his career in recent months and explained that one of the biggest reasons for that is how motivated he is to succeed.
“I just feel like I’m playing for a lot more than myself. I just have a lot of people, a lot of support, and on the other hand I have a lot of people who doubt me and also try to put me down all the time. I I have a lot of motivation in the back of my mind,” Kyrgios said. “I’ve been away from home for four months now. My whole team has. We don’t get to see our family the way other tennis players usually do. I try to make it worth it, to be there make it an unforgettable ride for all of us. Hopefully we can pull it off, go home and really celebrate.”
There’s already plenty to celebrate for Kyrgios this year. He won the Australian Open doubles title alongside good friend and compatriot Thanasi Kokkinakis, giving him the confidence that he could make deep runs in the majors.
At Wimbledon, Kyrgios advanced to his first Grand Slam final, pushing Novak Djokovic into a tight four-setter. The Australian maintained his good form throughout the North American hard court summer, winning the trophy at the Citi Open and knocking out Medvedev in Montreal before arriving in New York.
“Of course winning helps. I have won a lot this year. The motivation was there. It is easy to train. Of course it’s easier to wake up when things are going well,” Kyrgios said. “I was just tired of letting people down. I don’t know, I just feel that way. I feel like I’m making people proud now.”
The pressure on Kyrgios is as high as ever given his current form and performance in the spotlight. But so far in Flushing Meadows, he has overcome every hurdle to face Karen Khachanov in the quarterfinals.
“It’s a great win. But I’m coming off the track and I’m almost relieved that it’s over because there’s so much pressure every time I go out on the track, so much anticipation, so much unpredictability of what I can do,” he said. Kyrgios: “I’m just sitting there in the dressing room and I’m just super proud of the achievement because there really was a time when I didn’t think I was able to produce and do this anymore.”