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Nick Kyrgios needs to find his focus for greater challenges to come at Wimbledon

By John Skilbeck

Published 29/06/2016

Marching on: Nick Kyrgios on route to victory over Radek Stepanek
Marching on: Nick Kyrgios on route to victory over Radek Stepanek

If Nick Kyrgios put as much effort into his ground strokes as his grumbling and his serve as his swearwords, he'd have won Wimbledon three times by now.

The Australian spent a good two and a half hours stalking around Court Two yesterday, chuntering and chattering to himself, to the people in his corner, to the umpire, to anyone who'd listen really. And all this in a match he won with ease, 6-4 6-3 6-7 6-1 against the veteran Radek Stepanek. Imagine if it had been tight.

The 15th seed was given an official warning for swearing at the end of the third set which he managed to lose on a tie-break, having been serving for the match at 5-4. He spent part of the first set ranting: "You had one f****** job" although to who was not clear.

Of the umpire after the match, Kyrgios said: "We're good… well, we're not good" and then defended his choice of profanity: "I'm pretty sure everyone in this room has said it."

Perhaps, but that rather misses the point. The bickering and barking reached a high after the Australian 'bad boy' failed to serve out the match at 5-4 in the third.

Between points in the subsequent games and tie-break he kept looking to his corner, where his father George sat with his son's team. But Nick was not looking for support, rather he was shaking his head and sarcastically sticking his thumb up and muttering: "Good one… just what I needed" as if the entourage had momentarily taken the racket and failed to hold serve.

What he needs is a good clip round the ear from George - but his corner indulged him and he continued with the ranting, took his eye off the ball and lost the set 11-9 in the tie break.

Against a better player it could have cost him dear. Stepanek, after all, was attempting to become the oldest man to win a Grand Slam singles match in almost 25 years.

Despite having Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech in his corner, Stepanek could not save this one and Kyrgios rushed through the fourth set in quick fashion.

Kyrgios now faces his good friend Dustin Brown of Germany in the second round.

World No. 5 Stan Wawrinka is bracing himself to face a "great champion" in Wimbledon's second round after negotiating the highly-rated Taylor Fritz in his opening encounter on a rain-affected second day.

The Swiss was a four-set winner over Fritz and will now meet Juan Martin del Potro, the supremely talented Argentinian who were it not for a series of horror injuries could well have added to the US Open he won in 2009.

"For me it's going to be interesting to play against him. It's been many years that I didn't play against him," he said after his 7-6 (7-4) 1-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 win.

"We are all happy that he's back on the tour, hopefully without any injury, and hope that he can play for long now."

Belfast Telegraph

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