Nick Kyrgios relishes an immaculate performance at Wimbledon against Filip Krajinovic

The Aussie produced a serving masterclass as he swept past Queen’s Club runners-up Krajinovic in just an hour and 25 minutes on Thursday, blasting 24 aces in a 6-2 6 win -3 6-1. .

It was a remarkable performance – and Kyrgios knew it.

“I just wanted to prove to people that I’m really good,” he told reporters, “and sometimes I feel like I don’t have the respect.”

Kyrgios has long proven to be a divisive figure in tennis – on the one hand, one of the game’s great entertainers and talents; on the other, a player criticized for his behavior on the field and his outbursts towards the referees.

But against Krajinovic, he let his tennis do the talking, and at times he appeared totally unplayable.

It wasn’t until the start of the second set that the Serb took a point off Krygios’ serve – something he only managed to do nine times throughout the game.

The on-court speed gun quit working at one point, but then came back to life in time to clock a serve from Kyrgios at 135 miles per hour – eight mph shy of his 2019 tournament record.

Mixed in to his masterful serve were a few deft touches — notably, a perfectly weighted lob that delivered his first break of the third set, sparking chants of “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie” from his gold-clad fans — and clean , accurate ball hitting from the baseline.

“I really wanted to go out there today and remind everyone that I’m capable of playing really good tennis without any distractions,” Kyrgios said. “The crowd enjoyed it today and it was just like business.”

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The 27-year-old hasn’t always endeared himself to the Wimbledon crowd. He admitted after his first-round match against Britain’s Paul Jubb that he spat at a fan who he said was “disrespecting” him.

Asked about this incident after Thursday’s game, Kyrgios was optimistic. “I played against Filip Krajinovic today. You don’t want to know how I played?” he retaliated.

Kyrgios repeatedly clashed with the media during the post-match press conference.

“There’s nothing the media can tell me I did wrong today,” he said, reflecting on his performance.

“I just know you can’t ask me anything and stir anything. I love it because you can’t write anything. What are you going to say? Nothing today. Got you all stunned.”

Indeed, some of his shots against Krajinovic were breathtaking. He racked up 50 winners during the game, including a backhand return to seal the victory.

This set up a hugely exciting third-round clash against Stefanos Tsitsipas following the fourth seed’s straight-sets win over Jordan Thompson.

Kyrgios (left) and Krajinovic (right) shake hands after their second round match at Wimbledon.

A deep run at Wimbledon seems overdue for Kyrgios. His best result here remains a quarter-final appearance in 2014 when he made his tournament debut aged 19, beating the then world number one in the process. 1 Raphael Nadal.

Kyrgios pulled out of the men’s doubles event on Thursday to give himself ample opportunity to recover — “I’m a singles player, my priority has always been singles,” he explained – – and said in his on-court interview that this year’s Wimbledon has been “circled on my calendar pretty much the whole year”.

“It’s usually a tournament where I think this is my best chance of winning a Grand Slam out of the four,” Kyrgios added.

The world number 40 is rarely afraid to speak up, and this year was no exception. In May, Kyrgios opened up about the mental health issues he faced throughout his tennis career, recounting his struggles with drug and alcohol addiction, as well as self-harm.

He told Wide World of Sports that he felt “worthless” at some point in his life and had been deeply affected by abuse on social media. He added, however, that the Covid-19 pandemic had helped him get his mental health under control, and at Wimbledon Kyrgios said he was adopting a more positive mindset.

“I just feel comfortable in my own skin. Some people love tearing me down, but that’s not possible anymore,” he said.

Play like he did on Thursday, and it will be impossible for anyone to demolish Kyrgios on the pitch as well, such was his supremacy against Krajinovic.

“I’m extremely confident in myself, all the challenges I’ve overcome in my life,” he said.

“I’m proud to be here and to do it my way. To be able to produce tennis like this at Wimbledon is a dream come true for any tennis player.”

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