Wimbledon 2022: Kyrgios quiet on legal case after setting up Nadal semi

The Wimbledon semi-finals feature two men with 42 Grand Slam titles between them and a home favourite.

And yet it is Nick Kyrgios, the fourth member of the quartet who has dominated the headlines at SW19, ahead of Rafael Nadal, ahead of Novak Djokovic and ahead even of Cameron Norrie.

Initially it was due to his on-court antics, the constant haranguing of umpires, the acrimonious clash with Stefanos Tsitsipas and the need to push the boundaries of Wimbledon’s strict dress code at every opportunity.

That made him something of a pantomime villain, reviled by some, accused of bullying by Tsitsipas, but seemingly loved by the crowds at the All England Club.

The story took a darker turn when it was announced that Kyrgios had been summonsed to appear in an Australian court next month following an allegation of assault by his former girlfriend.

A little more than 24 hours later, he was back in action, getting the better of Cristian Garin in straight sets 6-4 6-3 7-6 (5) to qualify for his first slam semi-final.

Inevitably, he was questioned over the summons, but the 27-year-old explained that he was not in a position to answer, saying: “I have a lot of thoughts, a lot of things I want to say, kind of my side about it. Obviously I’ve been advised by my lawyers that I’m unable to say anything at this time.

“I understand everyone wants to kind of ask about it and all that, but I can’t give you too much on that right now.”

As for whether it affected him, when he lost the opening ten points of the match, there was certainly a feeling that something was up.

Kyrgios turned it around though.

He added: “It didn’t really affect me at all, to be honest with you. Obviously seeing it – I’m only human. Obviously, I read about it and obviously everyone else was asking questions. It was hard. It was hard to kind of just focus on kind of the mission at hand. It was quarter-finals of Wimbledon today. I know deep down that’s what I was prepared for.”

Next up should be Rafael Nadal, who was pushed to the limit and almost past it by Taylor Fritz, coming through 3-6 7-5 3-6 7-5 7-6 [10-4].

During the match he needed an injury timeout and was clearly in pain with the abdominal issues that have bothered him in recent days causing more problems.

It got so serious that both his father and sister signalled at him to retire, with Nadal seriously considering doing so.

In the end, he decided against it, and came through a marathon, but the reigning Australian and French Open champion admitted that he is not sure if he will be fit to take on Kyrgios.

Asked whether he would be on court for the semi-final, he said: “I don’t know. Tomorrow I’m going to have some more tests. But it’s difficult to know.

“It’s obvious that today is nothing new. I had these feelings for a couple of days. Without a doubt, today was the worst day. There has been an important increase of pain and limitation.”

Nadal’s injury takes the gloss of what could potentially be a classic semi-final encounter.

Kyrgios and Nadal have history here, the Australian claiming a shock victory in the last 16 back in 2014 when still a teenager.

Earlier this week, Kyrgios talked about that success, and how he had shown that the Spaniard was human after all.

He certainly looked it in his battle with Fritz, wincing and grimacing his way to victory in four hours and 21 minutes, his first serve simply a way of getting the ball back into court.

But the match was also a reminder that even a wounded Nadal is as dangerous an opponent as there is in the game. Each time a set got close, he came out on top, injury or no injury.

So while Kyrgios might have been overestimating a little in his prediction of the interest around the match, he may not be far off.

He said: “I feel like that would be a mouth-watering kind of encounter for everyone around the world. That would probably be the most-watched match of all time. I would argue that.

“It would be pretty special to play Rafa here. We’ve had some absolute battles on that Centre Court. He’s won one against me, and I’ve won one against him.

“Obviously, we know, two completely different personalities. I feel like we respect the hell out of each other, though.”

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