- Nick Kyrgios and Rafael Nadal are set to reopen their bitter rivalry on Centre Court in the second round of the Wimbledon Championships on Thursday.
- But while Nadal will most likely have been resting, the Australian was reportedly in a pub holding court with friends, fans, and journalists until 11 p.m.
- One journalist said Kyrgios was “chatting to girls, drinking.”
- Kyrgios has previously described going out and getting “hammered” during a tournament.
- Specifically, he has said he partied most nights during the Mexican Open earlier this year, a tournament he beat Nadal in before going on to lift the title.
- It remains to be seen how well he will fares after his exploits this time.
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Nick Kyrgios reportedly drank in a Wimbledon pub until 11 p.m. on Wednesday, just one night before he was set to begin his grudge match against Rafael Nadal.
Kyrgios and Nadal share a bitter rivalry, one heightened earlier this year when the tennis veteran accused the 24-year-old of lacking respect for the public. His uncle Toni Nadal even called Kyrgios “uneducated.”
It was not long before the Australian responded, mercilessly trolling the “salty” Spaniard in a no-holds-barred podcast with a prominent journalist in May.
A Centre Court clash between the two promises to be box-office entertainment, as it pits one of the all-time greats in Nadal against one of the sport’s loudest and most polarising athletes. It is also a Wimbledon rematch of their 2014 bout, when Kyrgios, just 19 at the time, beat Nadal, who was ranked No. 1 in the world.
But while Nadal will most likely have been resting midweek, perhaps even watching how Kyrgios performed in his first-round, five-set epic against his fellow Aussie Jordan Thompson on Tuesday, his opponent was reportedly holding court with friends, fans, and journalists in the famed Dog & Fox pub, which is a 15-minute walk from the All England Lawn Tennis Club.
The Eurosport tennis commentator Miguel Seabra said on Twitter that he and Kyrgios “had a toast” together at the pub, adding that the athlete was “completely relaxed, laughing with friends, chatting with girls, drinking.”
I just had a toast with Nick Kyrgios at the Dog & Fox. He is completely relaxed, laughing with friends, chatting with girls, drinking. “I love the @estorilopen”, he told me. Quite an unorthodox preparation for tomorrow’s blockbuster, uh? I like it. ???? #wimbledon #tennis
— Miguel Seabra (@MiguelSeabra) July 3, 2019
Earlier this week, Kyrgios had said the chances of his sharing a beer at the pub with Nadal were slim, as he doesn’t know his rival all too well.
“Not sure that me and Rafa could go down to the Dog & Fox and have a beer together,” he reportedly said, according to the Australian newspaper The Herald Sun. “I don’t know him at all. I know him as a tennis player.”
Stuart Fraser, the tennis correspondent for The Times, said Kyrgios was still at the bar even after 11 p.m. on Wednesday, with “no sign of Nadal for that beer.”
Just gone 11pm and Nick Kyrgios is still in the Dog and Fox, the night before he plays Rafael Nadal on Centre Court. No sign of Nadal for that beer… #Wimbledon
— Stuart Fraser (@stu_fraser) July 3, 2019
Kyrgios is one of the most complex characters in tennis. If you remove the theatrics, there are few more talented players outside the “big three” of Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, and Nadal.
But Kyrgios is prone to mental lapses. Shortly after he obliterated the next-gen talent Daniil Medvedev in the first round of the Italian Open in May, he unravelled against Carlos Ruud one match later. Kyrgios threw his chair onto the court, packed his bag, and walked off in the middle of the match, disqualifying himself from the competition.
Against Thompson this week, Kyrgios could arguably have won the match a lot sooner had it not been for his compulsion to hit pointless tweeners into the net. When he had the lead in the second set, he fell to the floor, straddled the grass, and just moaned. He was later heckled by the crowd over his erratic service game.
And while drinking in the Dog & Fox before reopening a storied rivalry with one of the most popular Wimbledon competitors may seem unconventional for most, it’s not if you’re Kyrgios.
In the same podcast in which he chastised Nadal, he said he began the 2019 Mexican Open by going out most nights and getting “hammered.”
“I was going to bed at 4:30 a.m. on average,” he said of a competition he won having swept aside challenges from Nadal, Stan Wawrinka, and Alexander Zverev. “I was packing my bag and I would take my going-out clothes. It was insane, I was Jet Skiing and partying and won a tournament.
“I got hammered at the players’ party and somehow played unbelievable that week – the stars aligned. I was having a lot of fun.”
Having booze on his mind midcompetition doesn’t always work out for the best, though, as he found out in 2017.
During his French Open loss to Kevin Anderson that year, Kyrgios smashed his racket to smithereens, demanded a beer from a spectator in the crowd, and then walked off the court with his phone in his hand.
After Wednesday night, it remains to be seen what version of Kyrgios turns up for the Nadal match on Thursday.