NICK Kyrgios has been responsible for perhaps the loudest noise on a tennis court in close to 12 months.
The Canberran’s almost miraculous comeback win over Frenchman Ugo Humbert on Wednesday night drew not only thunderous applause from the crowd, but chanting, hollowing and a standing ovation that would rival winning the Australian Open title.
On-court interviewer Jim Courier, who is no stranger to a rapturous reception at the tournament after his 1992 and 1993 victories, remarked Kyrgios’s performance was the “best that tennis has sounded since the pandemic”.
“I have just drawn so much strength from this court, playing in front of you guys, coming back from two sets down,” Kyrgios said, “and I have had so many experiences here I’d love to draw on that.”
Kyrgios told the number of fans, many holding up Australian flags that lined the front row of seats for the post-match interview, that “you guys were just awesome”.
But the second-round 5-7 6-4 3-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 triumph that finished at nearly midnight was not what it may have seemed.
“I just remember like down that end when I was facing a couple of match points down and I got out of it,” Kyrgios said, pointing to the north end of John Cain Arena.
“I don’t know what’s going on, but it was a strange match.
“I’m telling you if you were inside my head, there was some dark thoughts.
“That tends to be my career – I live to fight another day.
“Hopefully I can keep continuing to play good tennis in front of you guys.”
Humbert had frittered away a number of break point chances at 4-3 up in the fourth set.
He then served on match point twice to win in four.
But Kyrgios won the clutch points and smashed the tie-break 7-1 to level at two sets all.
An early break in the final set forced Humbert to play catch up tennis.
Kyrgios nearly picked up a second break in the fifth, but that missed chance only held off the inevitable.
“Honestly, I don’t know how I did that,” the 25-year-old from Watson said.
“I don’t even know what to say – I’m lost for words.
“That is one of the craziest matches I’ve ever played. I don’t know.”
Kyrgios now takes on Austrian and world No.3 Dominic Thiem in a Friday night special.
But not before the focus is first on a doubles clash on Thursday, with long-time Adelaide friend Thanasi Kokkinakis.
“Dominic’s one of the best players in the world…he’s a heck of a player after making the final here last year and took a set off Novak (Djokovic),” Kyrgios said.
“I think I have played him one time like five or six years ago, but I am not thinking about that.”