Wimbledon runner-up Nick Kyrgios was a late withdrawal from the Atlanta Open, after he was originally scheduled to play Peter Gojowczyk on Tuesday.

Kyrgios' replacement in Adrian Mannarino eventually defeated Gojowczyk 6-3 7-6 (9-7), but the Wimbledon finalist's withdrawal due to injury overshadowed the match.

After receiving a wild card for the Cincinnati Masters, the 2016 champion in Atlanta was expected to make a deep run to kick off his hard-court season.

Coming out to apologise to the crowd before Gojowczyk and Mannarino took to the court, Kyrgios expressed his sadness at the withdrawal, in the hope he could still play in the doubles draw with fellow Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis.

"I'm extremely shattered that I'm not able to compete tonight," he said pre-match. "I've won this tournament once, and you know, I'm playing some of the best tennis of my career.

"All I wanted to do was come out here and give you guys a show, to see what I was capable of. I'm unable to give out my best performance today, and I'm just extremely sorry.

"I'm going to keep my hopes up and maybe be able to continue doubles with Thanasi this week. I hope you'll all not be too hard on me."

Kokkinakis just has the doubles to attend to now after Andres Martin's 6-3 6-2 win, while Ilya Ivashka progressed with a 6-0 3-6 6-3 win over Quentin Halys.

James Duckworth was the lone Australian to advance on Tuesday, beating Dominik Koepfer 6-1 6-7 (5-7) 6-3. 

Jenson Brooksby made an encouraging Atlanta Open debut earlier in the day, eliminating Benoit Paire 6-3 6-1 to reach the second round.

Countryman and fifth seed Tommy Paul breezed past wild card Jack Sock 6-1 6-1, while Ben Shelton and Mackenzie McDonald also advanced.

Brandon Nakashima needed all three sets to deal with gritty Australian Jordan Thompson, ultimately prevailing 7-6 (7-5) 3-6 6-3 in the first round of the Atlanta Open.

America's Nakashima – who took Nick Kyrgios to five sets at Wimbledon – was the highest seed in action as things kicked off on Monday, and the difference in the match proved to be his quality ground strokes.

Both players won at least 79 per cent of their successful first serves, but while Thompson's effectiveness dipped to 39 per cent on his second serve, Nakashima's stayed up at 65 per cent, only allowing two break point opportunities all match.

Nakashima will meet John Millman in the next round after Millman defeated fellow Australian Alexei Popyrin 7-6 (7-1) 4-6 6-3.

Popyrin clearly had the serving advantage, winning the ace count 12-to-four, but in a match where each player only one had break of serve each, Millman found the important points when it really mattered.

Japan's Taro Daniel came back from a rough start to handle the challenge of America's Sebastian Korda 1-6 6-1 6-3.

Korda was in total control early, winning 12 of his 13 points on serve (92 per cent) in the opening set, but that number dipped sharply to 37 per cent (13-of-35) as Daniel turned the match on its head and found a way to counterpunch the American.

The last singles contest saw Kwon Soon-woo win a hard-fought clash with Marcos Giron 7-6 (7-3) 4-6 7-5. The match was so closely contested that Kwon won 51 per cent of the total points (104-of-204), while Giron won 49 per cent (100-of-204).

Meanwhile, Kyrgios was the biggest name in action, taking the doubles court in his Australian Open-winning partnership with Thanasi Kokkinakis, defeating Nicolas Mahut and Edouard Roger-Vasselin 7-6 (10-8) 6-3.

Novak Djokovic intends to compete at the US Open at the end of August, but will not risk a reoccurrence of the vaccination-related furore that saw him deported from Australia.

The Serbian lifted his seventh Wimbledon title earlier this month, moving level with Pete Sampras for the second-most wins at the All England Club, only behind Roger Federer (eight).

Djokovic also returned to just one grand slam title behind Rafael Nadal's record of 22, with the US Open that starts on August 29 the final headline act of the 2022 season.

While Djokovic enjoyed more Wimbledon success, it was only his second major of the year after the world number seven missed the Australian Open in January due to his refusal to be vaccinated.

His insistence to not take the vaccination against COVID-19 also saw him miss the Indian Wells Masters in March, owing to the United States' coronavirus rulings.

The United States still does not allow unvaccinated foreigners to enter the country without an exemption – meaning Djokovic's ability to appear in New York is in doubt.

Despite expressing his hopes to feature at the hard-court major, Djokovic insisted he will not be willing to face a repeat of the ongoings in Australia in order to compete.

"I'm not going to go to America if I don't have permission, so the Australian saga for me was not pleasant at all," he said after opening a tennis complex in the Bosnian town of Visoko.

"People still think I forced my way to Australia and tried to come in with no papers, permission or exemption – it is not true.

"That was proven in the court cases, so I would never go into a country where I didn't have permission to travel. I would love to come back to Australia. I love Australia, I had my best Grand Slam results in that country.

"Hopefully I can be there in January because I want to be there, and I also want to be in New York. I want to be in America and everywhere I can possibly play."


Djokovic remains hopeful for a change in policy in America given he has no intentions to take the vaccination, nor does he envisage an exemption coming.

"I am a professional tennis player, I don't go into politics or anything else because that doesn't interest me," he added.

"I have my stance and I am a proponent for freedom to choose what is best for you. I respect everything and everybody, and I expect people to at least respect my decision.

"If I have permission, I'll be there. If I don't, I won't be there – it's not the end of the world."

John McEnroe claims "tortured" soul Nick Kyrgios can play a big part in shaping the future of tennis, if he finds a way to manage his demons.

Wimbledon runner-up Kyrgios repeatedly lost his cool during his run at the All England Club, aiming cruel jibes at on-court officials, swearing during matches, being hostile to his own support team, and even spitting towards a spectator on one occasion.

It made it all the more remarkable that the Australian navigated a path through to the title match, albeit benefiting from a walkover in the semi-finals when Rafael Nadal pulled out with an abdominal injury.

McEnroe was no stranger to a vitriolic outburst during his playing career, earning the nickname of 'Superbrat'.

The 63-year-old is well positioned to assess the volatile Kyrgios, whose talent has never been in question but often rubs up awkwardly against his application and attitude.

Speaking on BBC Radio Five Live, McEnroe said: "I get a lot of what's going on here more than most people.

"He's a good kid, the players like him, he's well liked in the locker room, he does a lot of charity work.

"But he's got demons you know, in a way – we all have this fear of failure, and it's a question of how you best deal with it."

McEnroe said Kyrgios "moves the needle for us in tennis", suggesting the 27-year-old has skills that can move the sport in an exciting direction.

"We need this big time, but we don't need him to try half the time," McEnroe said.

The likes of Novak Djokovic, who got the better of Kyrgios in Sunday's Wimbledon final, along with Nadal, are in their mid-30s and cannot keep going forever. Roger Federer, now without an ATP ranking after a year of inactivity, is widely assumed to be close to retiring.

It remains to be seen whether Kyrgios, who has been summonsed to face a common assault charge in Australia, invests more into his tennis career in future. He appears to have an on-off love affair with the sport, being reluctant to let it dominate his life.

Of the world's top 100, only Djokovic and Nadal have played fewer ATP tournaments than Kyrgios' 12 events in the past year. Djokovic (11 tournaments) has missed some events due to his refusal to accept a COVID-19 vaccination, while injuries have limited Nadal's involvement to nine events.

McEnroe said Kyrgios "is a genius out there" on the court.

"He needs Sigmund Freud to come out of the grave and somehow figure out a way to keep this guy going for a couple of years because we could use him," said the American.

Kyrgios would likely not submit to such psychoanalysis, having been rattled by the coverage of his tantrums rivalling that of his tennis during the Wimbledon fortnight.

McEnroe added, speaking to BBC Sport: "You know he's sitting there and he's obviously tortured in certain ways. [He's] unbelievably talented, very smart."

Novak Djokovic has slipped to seventh in the ATP Tour rankings despite winning Wimbledon, where ranking points were stripped in this year's tournament.

Players from Russia and Belarus were banned from competing at the third major of the year due to the ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

The ATP and WTA retaliated by stripping ranking points from the event at the All England Club, where the likes of world number one Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev did not feature.

Moscow-born Elena Rybakina, who switched to represent Kazakhstan four years ago, lifted the women's title in the singles competition, while Djokovic triumphed for a fourth straight time in the men's event.

Yet, Djokovic has lost 2,000 rankings points – the standard total awarded to a grand slam singles champion – after winning in SW19 last year, with no such rewards available on this occasion.

That meant the Serbian has dropped from third place to seventh, his lowest position since August 2018 when he fell to 10th.

Djokovic moved within just one major title of Rafael Nadal's record of 22 grand slams, and the Spaniard has jumped up one spot to third.

Medvedev and Alexander Zverev are unmoved as the respective top two after losing just 180 rankings points in the latest edition. Both missed Wimbledon, with the Russian banned and the German still injured.

Stefanos Tsitsipas, Casper Ruud and Carlos Alcaraz make up the top six after climbing a place each, while Rublev, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Jannik Sinner are the trio behind Djokovic.

Nick Kyrgios appeared in his maiden major final against Djokovic at Wimbledon as world number 40, the lowest-ranked grand slam male finalist since Marcos Baghdatis (54) at the Australian Open in 2006.

Just a day later Kyrgios has dropped five places to 45th in the rankings, losing 90 points from his third-round berth last year. If the ban was not imposed, the Australian would have broken into the top 20.

Cameron Norrie is another loser from the ranking points fallout. His run to the semi-finals at the London major would have seen him climb to eighth, but instead he has to settle for 11th.

Novak Djokovic is hoping for a change of policy to allow him to feature at the US Open after ending an "exhausting and demanding period" by winning his seventh Wimbledon title.

Djokovic clinched his 21st grand slam win by recovering from one set down to beat Nick Kyrgios in Sunday's Wimbledon final, moving to within one major title of Rafael Nadal's record of 22.

On his 32nd grand slam final appearance – an Open Era record – the Serb claimed his fourth consecutive title at the All England Club with a 4-6 6-3 6-4 7-6 (7-3) victory in a tense encounter.

But it has not been plain sailing for Djokovic this year, who missed January's Australian Open after being deported over his refusal to be vaccinated against COVID-19, and was unable to enter the United States to play the Indian Wells Masters in March.

The United States still does not allow unvaccinated foreigners to enter the country without an exemption – meaning Djokovic's ability to appear in New York is in doubt.

But he is hopeful a change in policy could alter that state of affairs before the tournament gets underway on August 29, as he reiterated he would not get vaccinated and saw an exemption as unlikely. 

"It is a weird situation," Djokovic said. "I am on vacation. It has been quite an exhausting and demanding period for me. I got what I wanted here. 

"I'll wait hopefully for some good news [a change of policy] from the US. I'm not vaccinated and I'm not planning to get vaccinated. I don't think exemption is realistically possible.

"We'll have to see what the schedule looks like then. I doubt I'll chase points. Things have changed in the last year and a half for me. 

"I achieved the historic weeks of being ranked number one, that I worked for all my life. Now I prioritise slams and big tournaments where I feel good."


Djokovic's Wimbledon triumph comes at the end of a challenging few months, with the 35-year-old losing year's US Open final and exiting the 2022 French Open to Nadal either side of his much-publicised deportation from Australia. 

And the Serb, who claimed a first career win over Kyrgios on the biggest stage on Sunday, acknowledged: "This year has not been like last year.

"In the first several months of the year I was not at a good place mentally, emotionally. Everything that followed Australia has been a huge challenge and obstacle for me to overcome emotionally. 

"It wasn't that easy to close that chapter. It caused turbulence inside of me and I just had to weather the storm.

"I realised it would take time to regroup and rebalance. All these things off the court were causing so much distraction and pressure for me and the people around me. You can’t pretend it's not happening.

"By Rome and Paris I was already playing the tennis that I want to play. I liked my chances coming into Wimbledon. I think I managed everything pretty well today.

"Now I'm over the moon with joy and happiness of experiencing this moment once again. I don't take any wins for granted, and particularly not in Wimbledon. Every time feels special in its own way.

"Centre court and this tournament still has the most special place in my heart because it has always been my childhood dream tournament. Every time I step out on court it does not feel like anything else. I feel very connected with this court and this tournament. I'm very happy."

Nick Kyrgios added further praise for Novak Djokovic in the news conference after a 4-6 6-3 6-4 7-6 (7-3) Wimbledon final defeat.

First-time finalist Kyrgios had lauded his opponent as "a bit of a god" on court after a 21st grand slam success, with Djokovic ultimately having too much for his opponent.

And those generous words continued in the interview room, where Kyrgios acknowledged Djokovic's renowned return ability was a huge factor in the result – as was his composure.

Kyrgios had started beautifully, winning 81 per cent of his service points in the opening set and taking advantage of a pair of double-faults to grab the early advantage.

But Djokovic's return game picked up from that point, taking the sting out of the Australian's best weapon as his success rate on serve plummeted, winning 57 per cent of his service points in the second frame and 58 per cent in the third.

Kyrgios also committed four double-faults in the third to hand a set advantage to the world number three, and when the fourth set came to a tie-breaker, it was Djokovic who would hold his nerve.

"[Djokovic] is just really composed," Kyrgios said. "It's weird, I felt like he didn't do anything amazing today.

"He returned obviously the way he returns – I feel like he's just a great returner – but he was just so composed. I feel like that's his greatest strength: he just never looks rattled."

Not disheartened from falling just short of his first grand slam title, Kyrgios said he had taken plenty of confidence from his run to the final.

"My level is right there," he said. "I'm not behind the eight ball at all. 

"I played a slam final against one of the greatest of all time, and I was right there. [It gives me] confidence obviously.

"It was a hell of an occasion. People were probably expecting me to have something happen today. 

"But I came out in the first set and I looked like I was the one who had played in a lot of finals. I thought I dealt with the pressure pretty well."

Novak Djokovic assured the "phenomenal" Nick Kyrgios will soon be back in a grand slam final after defeating the spirited Australian in the Wimbledon showpiece on Sunday.

Kyrgios, appearing in his maiden major final and as the first Australian to make the Championship match at the All England Club since 2003, raced out the blocks to claim the first set.

Djokovic struggled to respond to the big-serving and heavy-hitting Kyrgios, but eventually broke for the first time in his third career meeting against the Australian to wrestle back some control.

As Djokovic grew into the game and manipulated his opponent around the court, Kyrgios became increasingly frustrated, arguing with both the umpires and one particular vociferous member of the crowd.

The world number three kept his cool, boasting a familiar aura of calmness, and ultimately triumphed 4-6 6-3 6-4 7-6 (7-3) despite Kyrgios rediscovering his formidable serving in the latter exchanges.

That moved Djokovic one grand slam title behind Rafael Nadal's record of 22 major successes, but much of his post-match focus was on Kyrgios, whose outbursts did not detract from the Serbian's admiration of his opponent.

"Nick, you'll be back. Not just in Wimbledon but in many finals," Djokovic said in his on-court interview.

"I really respect you a lot, you're a phenomenal player and athlete, you've been told that for many years.

"Everything is starting to come together for you and I'm sure we will see much more of you in the later stages of grand slams.

"I never thought I was going to say so many nice things about you considering our relationship – okay, it is officially a bromance!"

The pair had exchanged messages on social media in the build-up to the showpiece, promising to enjoy dinner with one another after the final, with the winner paying for the meal.

Djokovic joked, "Yeah, that's why he lost", when asked if he would foot the bill for the duo's evening in SW19 or further afield, before adding: "I'm sure this is the start of a wonderful relationship for us.

"Let's start with dinner and drinks and then we will see!"

Djokovic won the crown for a fourth straight time to claim a seventh title at the tournament overall as he moved level with Pete Sampras in terms of Wimbledon crowns, only one behind Roger Federer's eight.

The 35-year-old now has 86 wins at the London major, his best record in a single grand slam, with only Federer (105) winning more matches at Wimbledon, and Djokovic was quick to discuss how much the tournament means to him.

"I lost words for what this tournament and what this trophy means to me, to my coach, my family and my team. It always has been and will be the most special tournament in my heart," he added.

"It is the one that inspired me and motivated me to start playing tennis, when I was little at a mountain resort in Serbia and I saw Sampras win his first title in 1992, I asked my parents to buy me a racquet.

"And my first image in tennis was grass, and Wimbledon, and I always dreamed of coming here, then realising my childhood dream and winning here, every single time it gets more and more meaningful.

"I'm very blessed and very thankful to be standing here with the trophy."

Nick Kyrgios hailed Novak Djokovic as "a bit of a god" after losing to the Serbian in four sets in Sunday's Wimbledon men's singles final.

Djokovic lost the opening set, as he did against Jannik Sinner in the quarter-finals and Cameron Norrie in the semi-finals, but recovered to claim a fourth-straight crown at SW19.

The top seed, who is now back to within one grand slam title of Rafael Nadal's Open Era record of 22, prevailed 4-6 6-3 6-4 7-6 (7-3) in a little over three hours.

And Kyrgios, handed a walkover win in his semi-final against Nadal after the Spaniard pulled out injured, led the tributes to Djokovic after his latest major triumph.

"He's a bit of a god, I'm not going to lie," he said in his on-court interview. "I thought that I played well, so I want to congratulate Novak and his team." 


Kyrgios was the first unseeded player to contest a grand slam final since Jo-Wilfried Tsonga at the 2008 Australian Open, having previously never made it beyond the final eight.

However, asked if he is hungry for more after his deepest run at a major, Kyrgios joked: "Absolutely not! I'm so tired. Me and my team are exhausted. We've played so much tennis.

"I'm really happy with this result and maybe one day I'll be here again but I don't know about that."

Kyrgios was his usual self on Centre Court, producing some remarkable shots – including an underarm serve – and regularly berating the umpires in equal measure.

However, the world number 40 – the lowest-ranked grand slam male finalist since Marcos Baghdatis (54) at the Australian Open in 2006 – extended a word of thanks to the officials.

"To all the ball kids and also the umpires – I know you and I have a tough relationship at times – but thank you," Kyrgios added.

Novak Djokovic had predicted "fireworks" in Sunday's Wimbledon final with Nick Kyrgios, tennis' self-proclaimed bad boy and as combustible a sports star as they come.

In some regards that proved true, with Kyrgios providing those in attendance and watching at home with a run-through of his greatest hits.

There was plenty of ranting from start to finish – some perhaps going too far – with the odd interaction with the crowd and a broken racquet or two thrown in for good measure.

In between all that, Australia's first finalist here since Mark Philippoussis in 2003 produced some remarkable shots, an underarm serve and brilliantly executed tweener included.

Love him or hate him, this was Kyrgios at his ill-tempered best, and he went a long way to showing there is more to him than just a petulant twentysomething by taking the first set.

At that point, Kyrgios had reeled off five sets in a row across three meetings with his opponent without dropping one. But this is Djokovic, on Centre Court, in a grand slam final.

 And so at the end of a three-hour battle, it was Djokovic who prevailed 4-6 6-3 6-4 7-6 (7-3) to make it 21 major titles, pulling him back to within one of Rafael Nadal's record.

It was the enforced withdrawal of Nadal that gave Kyrgios his route into the biggest match of his career, and thus denied the millions viewing around the world their dream final.

While witnessing tennis' two greatest ever players face off once more would have made for quite the spectacle, this was a Championship clash that provided subplots galore.

One of the themes of this year's tournament has been Djokovic's uncharacteristically slow starts, almost teasing opponents into thinking they had his number before striking back.

He trailed Jannik Sinner and Cameron Norrie in the past two rounds and so that proved again versus Kyrgios, who with those slow starts in mind let Djokovic serve first.

That appeared to be a masterstroke when Djokovic double-faulted first up, yet the Serbian recovered – as he so often does – to hold and settle into the match.

But Kyrgios went on to earn the only break of the first set in the fifth game and let out a huge roar of "Let's go!". If anything, that only worked to fire up his opponent even more.

This was hardly unchartered territory for Djokovic, who also lost the opener in last year's final against Matteo Berrettini before battling to victory in four sets.

The second set proved far more comfortable for the 35-year-old, promoting Kyrgios to take a different approach as he let loose at the umpire. It would not be the last time.

If Kyrgios stuck to his half of the bargain by being his usual self, Djokovic did likewise by focusing solely on his tennis and taking a well-contested third set with a solitary break.

As the lowest-ranked finalist in a grand slam final since Marcos Baghdatis (50) at the Australian Open in 2006, world number 40 Kyrgios surely knew his number was up.

And so it proved as for the 13th time in 15 grand slam matches when losing the opening set, it was Djokovic left celebrating as he claimed a seventh Wimbledon crown.

 This latest comeback also made Djokovic the first player since Ted Schroeder in 1949 to win the title after dropping the first set in the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final.

It will almost certainly not be the four-in-a-row champion's final title, either, though it remains to be seen if Kyrgios will scale these heights again any time soon – if at all.

On this occasion, Djokovic simply proved a step too far as Kyrgios' fireworks fizzled out at the climax of a fascinating Wimbledon campaign.

Novak Djokovic overcame a spirited Nick Kyrgios in four sets to claim his seventh Wimbledon title and 21st grand slam crown on Sunday.

Centre Court played host to a match-up of contrasting experience, with Kyrgios playing his maiden major singles final in what was Djokovic's 32nd such showpiece – an Open Era record.

Djokovic ultimately held his nerve, taking a fourth straight title at the All England Club with a 4-6 6-3 6-4 7-6 (7-3) victory to move one behind Rafael Nadal's record 22 grand slam titles.

The Serbian also moved level with Pete Sampras in terms of Wimbledon triumphs, only one behind Roger Federer's eight.

 Kyrgios was offered a shot at the title after Nadal withdrew from their semi-final with injury, and he struck first with a break in the fifth game as a nervy Djokovic produced a double fault.

Djokovic continued to struggle to cope with the big-serving Kyrgios, who registered back-to-back aces to take the first set, in which he did not offer the Serbian a single break point.

But Djokovic soon regained his composure and finally broke Kyrgios for the first time in their third career meeting, before saving four break points in the ninth game to level the match.

Kyrgios, irked by a code violation for audible obscenities when displeased with a member of the crowd, then failed to hold his serve at 4-4 as frustrations grew, with Djokovic keeping his cool to secure the third set.

World number 40 Kyrgios rediscovered his serving rhythm to take the fourth set to a tie-break, yet he then made a series of unforced errors as Djokovic secured the title in SW19 once again.

Data slam: Djokovic's Wimbledon dominance continues

At 35 years and 49 days old, Djokovic became the second-oldest man to lift the Wimbledon title in the Open Era, and the Serbian's four consecutive successes at the All England Club only rank behind the five-win streaks of Bjorn Borg (1976-1980) and Federer (2003-2007).

Djokovic has also won 86 times at the London major, his best record in a single grand slam, with only Federer (105) winning more matches at Wimbledon.

Meanwhile, having lost the opening set in each of his past three matches, Djokovic became the first player in the Open Era to win the title at Wimbledon after dropping the first set in the quarter-final, semi-finals and final – and the first overall since Ted Schroeder in 1949.

Djokovic – 46/17
Kyrgios – 62/33

Djokovic – 15/7
Kyrgios – 30/7

Djokovic – 2/4
Kyrgios – 1/6

Nick Kyrgios and Novak Djokovic crossed paths on the practice courts and began making plans to party after Sunday's Wimbledon final, on an unconventional day of build-up to the trophy match.

The pair were once grudge rivals, with Kyrgios ripping into Djokovic on the 'No Challenges Remaining' podcast in 2019, saying the Serbian had "a sick obsession" with wanting to be popular, in the way Roger Federer has enjoyed the love of tennis crowds.

More recently, though, Kyrgios sympathised with Djokovic's plight in January when the Serbian was detained and ultimately deported from Australia in a row over his vaccination status.

That served to stem the flow of bad blood, and Kyrgios has gone as far as to suggest there is a budding "bromance" between the pair.

Djokovic is not quite so sure about that, but the needle that once existed is unlikely to be a factor on Sunday, at least initially. Given the volatility both men may bring onto the court, the rapport could be seriously tested as the match goes on.

Even Djokovic has forecast "fireworks", but that does not necessarily mean ill-feeling.

On Centre Court, Djokovic will be aiming for his seventh Wimbledon title, which would see him tie Pete Sampras as the second most prolific winner of the men's singles in the Open Era, behind Federer's haul of eight.

On Saturday, Serbian journalist Sasa Ozmo quoted a conversation between the pair at Wimbledon's Aorangi practice courts, where Djokovic is said to have told Kyrgios: "It took you five years to say something nice about me, haha."

According to Ozmo, who reports for Sport Klub, Kyrgios replied: "But I defended you when it mattered."

Djokovic then reportedly said: "You did, I appreciate that."

The conversation continued on social media, with Kyrgios writing on Instagram: "We friends now?"

Djokovic quipped in reply: "If you are inviting me for a drink or dinner, I accept. P.S. Winner of tomorrow pays."

Kyrgios was not satisfied with that level of celebration, proposing instead: "Let's go to a nightclub and go nuts."

Djokovic and Kyrgios have played twice before, and Kyrgios won both times without dropping a set. They came in 2017 though, at Acapulco and Indian Wells, when Djokovic was at a relatively low ebb.

Now the 35-year-old from Belgrade is targeting a title that would take him to a career haul of 21 grand slam titles, one behind men's all-time leader Rafael Nadal.

It will be a 32nd grand slam final for Djokovic, a men's record, and he is chasing a fourth consecutive Wimbledon title, and a seventh in all. His lone defeat in a Wimbledon final came in 2013 when Andy Murray beat him in straight sets.

In contrast, Kyrgios will be contesting his first grand slam singles final. He won the doubles with Thanasi Kokkinakis at the Australian Open in January, but this is a massive step up, and he could be coming in slightly cold, after his semi-final against Nadal was cancelled due to the Spaniard's injury withdrawal.

The last Australian men's champion at Wimbledon was Lleyton Hewitt in 2002, but Ash Barty delivered in the women's singles last year, before retiring in March.

Kyrgios, at 40th in the ATP rankings, is the lowest-ranked Wimbledon men's singles finalist since 2003 when his fellow Australian Mark Philippoussis was a lowly 48th on the list.

He is the first unseeded man to reach a slam final since Jo-Wilfried Tsonga at the 2008 Australian Open.

Djokovic beat Tsonga that day to land his first grand slam title, and has enjoyed 14 years of plenty since.

That serves as a reminder of the company Kyrgios will be keeping, potentially out of his depth but maybe just enough of a threat if all aspects of his game come together.

"There's definitely times when I hate this sport."

It is difficult to imagine Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer or Novak Djokovic coming out with such a line – but then Nick Kyrgios does not pretend to be comparable to any of those tennis greats.

Kyrgios' maiden major singles final appearance has come about due to unprecedented circumstances, with a tear to Nadal's abdominal muscle making his opponent the first to benefit from a walkover in a Wimbledon semi-final in the Open Era.

"It's not the way I wanted to get to the final," said Kyrgios in the same news conference on Friday.

But injuries are becoming increasingly commonplace for the 'Big Three' – already trimmed from a 'Big Four' due to the fitness woes endured by Kyrgios' great mate Andy Murray.

So, does the first-time finalist see an opportunity to step into that void at the forefront of the sport?

"No, no, I don't," Kyrgios replied. "I don't think anyone's able to fill those shoes."

He added with a grin: "If I ever win a grand slam trophy, please don't put the pressure on my to do another one."

This might be Kyrgios' first and only title run, but it is one he has waited a long time for.

"I saw some of the professionals walking around when I'd be a junior here, and I never thought that I'd be playing for the actual men's title," he said.

"It's the pinnacle of tennis. Once you're able to raise a grand slam trophy, it's like: what else is there to achieve?

"I never thought I'd be here, and I'm just super proud and ready to go. I'm going to give it my all and see what happens."

Australia has waited a long time, too. Aussies have won six Wimbledon men's singles titles but none since Lleyton Hewitt's sole success in 2002.

Their last finalist was Mark Philippoussis in 2003, beaten by Federer for his first championship. By Sunday, 6,944 days will have passed since an Australian man walked out for a singles final on Centre Court.

That sort of legacy does not appeal to Kyrgios, though, as he explained: "The greats of Australian tennis haven't been the nicest to me, and they haven't always been the most supportive – they haven't been supportive these two weeks."

Hewitt is an exception – the Davis Cup captain was briefly a hitting partner prior to the tournament – but Kyrgios considers himself "definitely the outcast of the Australian players".

"It's pretty sad," he said, describing his relationship with other Aussie greats as "weird". "They have a sick obsession with tearing me down. It sucks."

No, rather than bid to join those ranks, Kyrgios believes he is inspiring others like him.

"I grew up in Canberra, the courts I trained on were horrible, and now I'm here with the chance to play the Wimbledon final," he said.

"I think it's honestly an inspiration for any kid who's been 'outcasted' or been surrounded by negative headlines or negative clouds or been brought down from a lot of different angles.

"It's possible, it's still possible to achieve something quite special if you just believe in yourself. I never really lost belief in myself."

There have certainly been no shortage of negative headlines.

Kyrgios spat at a spectator earlier in the tournament; his epic third-round win over Stefanos Tsitsipas was one of the matches of the fortnight, but his typically brash approach to that encounter was not widely popular; and when he spoke of having already prepared tactics for Nadal – a previous foe – it was easy to wonder whether Kyrgios intended to outplay his opponent or simply get under his skin.

More seriously, this week started with Kyrgios being summoned to appear before a court in Canberra next month to face an allegation of common assault.

Those Australian greats would not be alone in responding to a Kyrgios victory unenthusiastically, even if the Centre Court crowd appear to have warmed to him.

No amount of noise will be new to Kyrgios, and while this is his first major singles final, a doubles title at the Australian Open provided some vital preparation for getting to this stage, too.

"I realised in Melbourne that it's a long time; it's a really long time in one place," Kyrgios said.

He was ready then for the rollercoaster of a grand slam run: "I beat Paul Jubb 7-5 in the fifth set in my first round, and now I'm in the Wimbledon final. You've just got to ride the waves, roll with the punches.

"In a grand slam, you just don't know; you could be four points away from losing the tournament and then 11 days later you're in the final."

There is undeniable excitement at the opportunity that lies ahead of Kyrgios, who considers himself "one of the most competitive people I've ever met".

But for once he will be able to see the bigger picture if Sunday's match does not go his way; Kyrgios is the first unseeded major finalist since Jo-Wilfried Tsonga at the 2008 Australian Open and the first unseeded Wimbledon finalist since Philippoussis.

"I just know whether I win or lose on Sunday, I'm going to be happy, because it's just such a great achievement that I never thought I'd be a part of – especially at 27," Kyrgios said.

"For me, I thought it was the later stages of my career; I just never thought that it would be right here that I'd have a chance."

Now he does have that chance, though, he is determined to give his all – something that has not always been a given with Kyrgios, his critics might suggest.

"Since I've been born, only eight people have won this title, only eight," he said. "I'm just going to give it my best shot."

Novak Djokovic told fans to "expect fireworks" when he faces Nick Kyrgios in his record-breaking 32nd grand slam final at Wimbledon on Sunday.

Djokovic surpassed Roger Federer (31) for the most major finals among male players with his four-set victory over Cam Norrie in Friday's semi-final.

It means he will now face Kyrgios, who progressed without playing after Rafael Nadal withdrew from their last-four meeting due to an abdominal injury.

The six-time Wimbledon champion has never beaten Kyrgios, losing each of their previous meetings in Acapulco and Indian Wells in 2017 in straight sets.

Their third encounter could be one high on emotion. Djokovic appeared to blow kisses towards a heckler in the Centre Court crowd after defeating Norrie while Kyrgios, known for his on-court outbursts, was recently involved in an extremely tempestuous third-round clash with fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas.

"One thing's for sure, there's going to be a lot of fireworks emotionally from both [of us]," Djokovic said on court afterwards. 

"It's going to be his first grand slam final obviously he's very, very excited, he doesn't have much to lose and he's always playing like that.

"He's playing so freely, one of the biggest serves in the game, just big game overall, a lot of power in his shots.

"We haven't played for some time. I've never won a set off him so hopefully it can be different this time.

"It's another final for me here in Wimbledon with the tournament that I love so much so hopefully the experience can work in my favour."

Nick Kyrgios revealed he was disappointed to be gifted a place in the Wimbledon final, having been determined to earn his shot at the title by beating Rafael Nadal.

But following news of that semi-final walkover, the Australian was so excited he struggled to sleep.

Kyrgios, speaking to the media on Friday, said he learned of Nadal's withdrawal with an abdominal muscle tear only shortly before the Spaniard announced his decision at a news conference.

While Kyrgios – who enjoys a feisty rivalry with the 22-time grand slam champion – sent Nadal a message on Instagram, he was yet to speak to him.

The 27-year-old had been desperate to beat Nadal, but his respect for his opponent was also evident in his words.

"Honestly, my first feeling was a bit of disappointment," Kyrgios said.

"My energy was so focused on playing him and tactically how I'm going to go out there and play, the emotions of walking out there and all that type of stuff.

"It's not the way I wanted to get to the final. As a competitor, I really did want that match – it was obviously something, as soon as I beat Garin, that I knew Rafa was a high possibility.

"It's just someone that I've had so many good battles with before. We've both taken a win against each other at this tournament, and I really did want to see how the third chapter was going to go.

"You never want to see someone like that, [someone] so important to the sport go down with an injury like that. 

"He's just played so much tennis, he's had a gruelling season, so I just hope he recovers. I'm sure I'll play him again on a big stage."

He added: "But obviously it's exciting to say I'll have a chance to play for a grand slam singles title; after everything, it's pretty cool."

Indeed, so exciting Kyrgios endured "a shocking sleep" on Thursday night.

"I got probably an hour of sleep," he said. "Just with everything, the excitement, I had so much anxiety, I was already feeling so nervous – and I don't feel nervous usually."

Kyrgios was concerned the absence of a semi-final match would knock him out of what has been "a pretty good routine" in his run to a first major final.

"People will say, 'he gets another day off', but it's definitely a shock to the system, having been playing so many matches," he explained.

"You play a match at a grand slam and you know, deep down, that you have one day to wind down, let yourself relax and then go again.

"To have two and a half, three days off... today I'm going to emulate not a match scenario but I'm going to try to have a bit more of an extended practice to try to feel like I'm in that same routine.

"That can throw anyone off. At a grand slam, you want to have those matches, you want to have those competitive juices, you want to have those going, the adrenaline.

"That's just something I'm going to have to go into the final without, that semi-final experience.

"That's okay, I'm going to take the positives, rest my body a bit; it's not bad going in there feeling fresh."

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