When the Australian Open draw came out, one of the blockbuster showdowns on the horizon was a potential second-round clash between World No. 2 Daniil Medvedev and Australian Nick Kyrgios. After Kyrgios guaranteed that match would occur with a win against Liam Broady on Tuesday, he did not shy away from sharing his own excitement.
“It’s going to be a hell of an experience for me. He’s probably the best player in the world at the moment. So I’m pretty excited, I’m excited for that moment. That’s why I play the game,” Kyrgios said. “I feel like those matches still excite me, to go out there and play the best in the world. That was always something I wanted to prove to people that someone like me could do, win those matches.
“I’m not going to go into it with a lot of expectation. I’m going to go out there, have some fun, play my game. I have a pretty set-in-stone game plan of what I need to do to have success.”
Photo Credit: Peter Staples/ATP Tour
Kyrgios produced a solid performance in his opener against Broady, a qualifier. The Aussie had not competed since the Laver Cup last September, but he struck 41 winners and did not lose serve against the Briton.
“I’m pretty pleased with the way I responded. It was a pretty flawless [performance]. Everything I could control, serving, attitude, all the non-negotiables, I did great,” Kyrgios said. “Liam obviously qualified, tough competitor. Obviously I’ve had pretty good success against lefties at Grand Slams. I’ve only ever lost to Rafa at a Grand Slam that’s a left-hander. I was pretty confident my game style was going to match up well, but it was just good to be back out there.”
As always with Kyrgios, there were some theatrics on the court, from using the underarm serve to hitting a forward-facing tweener. The home favourite got the John Cain Arena crowd involved from early on.
“I think that’s something I have kind of created on that court. They know what to expect. First game against [Dominic] Thiem last year when I broke, the court went into an absolute berserk state,” Kyrgios said. “I think from the get-go, I know I’ve got the crowd in the palm of my hand, and [at] any time I can use that to spark a moment or spark some energy.”
Kyrgios will hope to do the same against Medvedev, who he says “ticks all the boxes”. The Aussie leads their ATP Head2Head series 2-0, with their most recent meeting coming in the 2019 Citi Open final.