Nick Kyrgios “has a chance” of creating an upset against top seed and defending champion Novak Djokovic in the final of Wimbledon on Sunday.
After losing the opening set of his semi-final against Cameron Norrie of Britain, Djokovic battled back and continued his serene progress through to the final with the scoreline 2-6 6-3 6-2 6-4.
Wilander believes the Serb will be the favourite in the final, but can’t predict what Kyrgios – who had a walkover through to the final after Rafael Nadal was forced to withdraw with an abdominal strain – may offer when it really matters on the biggest stage.
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“Obviously, Novak Djokovic is the favourite on paper, but Nick Kyrgios is serving maybe the best that anyone has served since Pete Sampras,” Wilander told Eurosport. “It’s very hard to understand how Novak Djokovic is going to get a lot of returns back in play – but that’s Novak Djokovic, he does.
“I think it all depends on Nick Kyrgios and how he serves. If he has a great serving day, he has a chance. From the baseline, it is going to be very tough for Kyrgios. Yes, Djokovic is the favourite, but you want Nick Kyrgios to play great so that we have a great final.
“I think the crowd most probably will be behind the person that is not winning mostly. I think at the start, the crowd will most probably be on Nick Kyrgios’ side because a lot of people will come to Wimbledon and not have seen Nick Kyrgios play.
“I think the more interesting question is how Nick Kyrgios is going to engage the crowd, how is he going to interact with the crowd. Will it take him needing to be winning from the beginning to be positive, talk to the crowd, and talk to his box. Literally, I have no idea what is going to happen between these two in terms of body language and in terms of who the crowd is going to support.
“We know Nick is going to serve big, and we know that Novak is going to try and move Nick around from the baseline. Novak has won 20 Grand Slams, and made 32 Slam finals in 68 Grand Slam tournaments – that is an unbelievable record.”
‘A good chance’ – Wilander on whether Djokovic can match Federer’s eight Wimbledon titles
- Djokovic predicts ‘a lot of fireworks’ against Kyrgios in final
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- Kyrgios posts cryptic message to Nadal about ‘different personalities’ after walkover
Looking ahead to facing Kyrgios on Sunday in the men’s tournament showpiece, Djokovic predicted “fireworks” on Centre Court.
“The job is not finished. One thing is for sure, there will be a lot of fireworks emotionally, from both of us. It’s going to be his first Grand Slam final and he’s going to be very excited.
“He doesn’t have much to lose, and he’s always playing like that. He plays so freely, he has one of the biggest serves in the game. He has 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, so hopefully, the experience can work in my favour.”
For Kyrgios, it has been a stunning run on the famous grass courts, and he now awaits the top seed and reigning champion Djokovic on Centre Court. While he has not always had a good relationship with Djokovic, the pair bonded over the Serb’s nightmare time before the Australian Open in January.
“We definitely have a bit of a bromance now, which is weird,” Kyrgios said in his pre-final press conference. “I think everyone knows there was no love lost for a while there. I think it was healthy for the sport.
“I think every time we played each other, there was hype around it. It was interesting for the media, the people watching, all that. I felt like I was almost the only kind of player and someone to stand up for him with all that kind of drama at the Australian Open.
“I feel like that’s where respect is kind of earned. Not on the tennis court, but I feel like when a real-life crisis is happening, and someone stands up for you… we actually message each other on DMs in Instagram now and stuff. It’s real weird.”
‘He’s getting ready for Kyrgios!’ – Djokovic turns on style to reach final: Day 13 wrap from Wimbled
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Watch daily highlights from Wimbledon at 10pm on Eurosport 2 and discovery+ from June 27, as well as the two singles finals live on July 9 and 10.
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