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  • Nick Kyrgios beats Paul Jubb at Wimbledon, last year’s runner-up Matteo Berrettini with COVID-19

Nick Kyrgios beats Paul Jubb at Wimbledon, last year’s runner-up Matteo Berrettini with COVID-19

If there’s one thing you can say about Nick Kyrgios’ matches, they are rarely dull, and his five-set win over Briton Paul Jubb in the first round of Wimbledon was no exception.

An ongoing disagreement with a linesman whom Kyrgios called “a tell-tale”, an underarm serve behind the legs, countless audience conversations and a ball being knocked high out of the stadium – that was just the first set.

Despite all the unnecessary but consistently entertaining sideshows, Kyrgios went on to take on his 22-year-old wildcard opponent 3-6, 6-1, 7-5, 6-7(3), 7-5 in three hours and five minutes.

Kyrgios hit 29 aces and 62 winners, but married it with 53 unforced errors.

“That was unbelievably tough,” Kyrgios said after the race on the track.

“He played quite exceptional tennis.”

Paul Jubb hits a forehand shot
Paul Jubb surprised Nick Kyrgios with his tenacity and skill level.Getty Images: Adam Davy/PA Images

In gusty conditions on court three, Kyrgios sometimes played on court with his usual relaxed genius, but increasingly showed his undisguised irritability which ultimately proved to be a huge distraction.

That was no more visible than in the last set.

Kyrgios went from serving for the game at 5-3 to the break point at 5-5, before recovering to break Jubb in the next game to win the match.

The crowd popped out of the mouth of the world’s number 40, with Kyrgios asking the referee to intervene on the very first half change, before a more extended conversation later in the match.

Nick Kyrgios points to one side while sitting on a chair
Nick Kyrgios selected audience members.Getty Images: Adam Davy/PA Images

“You have to tell them,” Kyrgios said after getting some comments from some of the crowd.

“They have no right to do that. They are spectators… they must be removed.

“There’s no sheer disrespect like that. I don’t go to their face and go to their nine-to-five and start clapping when they scan s*** in a supermarket, am I?”

“I agree with you,” said the chair umpire.

“So why does it keep happening?” was the answer from Kyrgios.

“So, sheer disrespect from a spectator for an athlete is acceptable at Wimbledon, but you won’t accept a hat with two logos?

“So where’s the line? That’s acceptable, then racism is acceptable, so when will it stop? Where’s the line?

“It’s been happening for years.”

Nick Kyrgios holds his hand in front of his face as one fan claps behind him, while another puts his hands in front of his face to boo
Nick Kyrgios argued with the umpires and fought the crowd.AP: Kirsty Wigglesworth

Kyrgios was asked if he would consider a career in commentary after he finished due to his talkative nature, to which he said with a wry smile he would consider it if he was paid enough.

Those multiple distractions at the change of half aside, Kyrgios soared through the second set in 24 minutes, before moving through the third after a 200km/h serve.

Kyrgios roared excessively through the decisive play in that third set, but was unable to regain that form in the fourth as Jubb fought back into the fray.

As the match entered the deciding set, Kyrgios, after another talk with the chair umpire, had one request from the audience.

“Let’s agree to be quiet the entire fifth” [set],” he said.

As Jubb put all the pressure on Kyrgios, the crowd did anything but calm down, but Kyrgios was victorious.

“The crowd was pretty rowdy today,” Kyrgios said.

“A few people in the crowd weren’t shy about criticizing me. That one was for you, you know who you are,” he added as the crowd cheered him off the field.

Matteo Berrettini pulls out of Wimbledon with COVID-19

Mattero Berrettini holding a silver plate trophy and looking sideways
Matteo Berrettini was defeated in four sets by Novak Djokovic in the 2021 final.Getty Images: Julian Finney

Earlier in the day, Matteo Berrettini, last year’s Wimbledon runner-up, was forced to withdraw from this year’s tournament due to a positive COVID-19 test result just hours before he was due to go to court.

The Italian number 11 in the world was one of the favorites to take this title and would open his campaign on Court 1 against Chilean Cristian Garín on Tuesday morning.

Instead, he has taken to Instagram to explain his withdrawal.

“I am heartbroken to announce that I have to withdraw from Wimbledon due to a positive COVID-19 test result,” the number eight wrote.

The 26-year-old said he was in isolation for a few days after developing flu-like symptoms.

“The dream is over for this year, but I will come back stronger.”

Berrettini has been replaced in the main draw by the lucky loser, the Swedish number 137 in the world, Elias Ymer.

Last week, Berrettini had declared himself one of the favorites to win the grass court major, winning the prestigious Queens Club title for the second year in a row.

Matteo Berrettini kisses a big silver trophy
Matteo Berrettini won Queens for the second year in a row.Getty Images: Stephen Chung/Xinhua

In doing so, he became the first Open-era player to win the traditional pre-Wimbledon tournament in his first two appearances.

Last week, Berrettini practiced on Center Court with Rafael Nadal and was also in the picture alongside last year’s champion Novak Djokovic.

Last year, Berrettini lost in the Wimbledon final to Djokovic 6-7 (4), 6-4, 6-4, 6-3.

The match took place on the same day as the Euro 2020 final, in which Italy defeated England at Wembley Stadium in London.

Matteo Berrettini holds a silver trophy alongside Italian President and Giorgio Chiellini
Matteo Berrettini, right, was hailed next to the Italian football team in Rome.Getty Images: Mondadori Portfolio/Rocco Spaziani/Pool

Just a day later, Berrettini joined the victorious Italian football team on their victory parade through the streets of his home city of Rome.

Four of his seven ATP titles have been won on grass, and the Italian has won nine games so far this year without a surface defeat.

Berrettini’s withdrawal follows that of Marin Čilić, who withdrew on Monday.

Čilić, the 14th seed, also wrote that he was “heartbroken” to miss the tournament where he reached the final in 2017.

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