October 3, 2022

WIMBLEDON, England — Deprived of the enticing thunder forecast for Friday, Wimbledon went ahead anyway and found itself traveling to an enticing thunder forecast for Sunday. He lost his supposed men’s semi-final between Nick Kyrgios and Rafael Nadal when Nadal had to withdraw on Thursday night, but he won a men’s final between Kyrgios and Novak Djokovic when Djokovic tapped into his pool of talent and took it out. ‘one of the best.

It will be supernatural problem solver Djokovic against super loud problem maker Kyrgios. You can see the emotional outbursts from here.

The final arrangements came when Djokovic, in Friday’s lone semi-final, uncovered himself and Cameron Norrie as he over and over uncovered himself and whoever it was there. Just as he trailed in the quarter-finals against Jannik Sinner here, in the final against Matteo Berrettini last year, in the 2021 French final with Stefanos Tsitsipas and so on, he told his nerves to cut it and produced his usual lineup of great snaps and won, 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4, against a 12th-ranked player on Earth.

Rafael Nadal withdraws from Wimbledon due to abdominal injury

Of his 68 Grand Slams, he has made 32 final appearances.

“I mean, every game, every Grand Slam that I play at this stage of my career,” the 35-year-old said, “there’s a lot at stake.”

This time the line will shake.

A first Grand Slam final for the 27-year-old Kyrgios, long the bottom line derecho of the sport, will introduce Djokovic to, first and foremost, Kyrgios’ traumatic serve on grass.

“On grass, I guess it’s even harder to read his serve,” Djokovic said, “and to come back because he has so many free points.” This “puts extra pressure on your service”. And: “He has big hands.” It will feature one of the wackiest little stats in the sport: Kyrgios’ 2-0 record against Djokovic, with both games taking place in the space of two weeks: March 2, 2017 in Acapulco, Mexico, and the March 15, 2017 in Indian Wells. , California.

Djokovic didn’t win any of the four sets. He found the service untraceable in the thin desert air of eastern California. He saw a few aces go – 25 the first time, 14 the second – and then he never saw Kyrgios again in any practice or match after that.

“I guess it’s going to be a game of small margins,” Djokovic said. “Hopefully I can be at the level I want, so it’s really a mental game at the end, staying tougher and calmer in the decisive moments.”

As he tries to solve enough to rack up a 21st Grand Slam title, his opponent will arrive at a time when he thought he would never arrive even with the talent everyone has spotted since his teenage years, talent often associated with the word “dangerous”. Kyrgios will arrive as a known player to play better against top players. He will arrive after plotting how to play Nadal – they were 1-1 here – because, he said on Friday, “I really wanted to see how this third chapter was going to play out” and “I’m sure At the end of the day, everyone wanted to see us go to war there. That’s everyone except, presumably, the tennis balls.

A trailblazer makes a final at Wimbledon, and happiness is everywhere

He arrives having spent the fortnight more in his rental home and less in pubs or on his phone than in previous years, which he considers relevant.

“I felt like at the start of my career I didn’t realize that those days off and training were so crucial,” he said. Or, as Djokovic said, “Honestly, as a tennis fan, I’m glad he’s in the final because he’s so talented.”

He arrives having gained some wisdom in the 2022 Australian Open men’s doubles, which he won with fellow Aussie Thanasi Kokkinakis against fellow Australians Matthew Ebden and Max Purcell. He comes to his 30th Grand Slam tournament with a better understanding of the rhythm of Grand Slams, long after he, ranked 40th, had a first-round fight here with 219th-ranked Briton Paul Jubb, in which Kyrgios the creaked through 7-5 in the fifth set and also spat in the direction of a trailing witness.

“You could be four points away from losing [in the first round]said Kyrgios, “then 11 days later you’re in the final, so…”

“Surf the waves”, said a man accustomed to creating them and having them launched.

And then he arrives after having a “shocking sleep” on Thursday night – that is, a bad sleep – and “so much anxiety” and “feeling so nervous already”, even if he can go back to l childhood in Canberra and marvel. “Yeah, I think it’s just hilarious,” he said, “because, like, I don’t think I’m supposed to be someone like me. Like, I’m watching [a photo he posted online of himself as a child]I grew up in Canberra, the courts I trained on were horrible, and now I have the chance to play in the Wimbledon final.

Now he finds someone who solves the fuss as well as anyone who has ever solved the fuss.

“For me,” Djokovic said, “it’s probably on a different level because I have to deal with different things that are off the pitch as well, the crowd maybe on my opponents’ side most of the time. time. It’s something I’ve been used to throughout my career. The more you go through these kinds of situations, not the better you feel, just the more prepared you feel. You know what to expect.

“It’s always about managing your own nerves better than maybe your opponent is yours. The internal battle is always the biggest. In practices where you don’t have the crowd or the expectations, you play very well. Then you get to the game and you realize it’s amazing how the whole game can fall apart” – like in the first set on Friday – “really just because you feel tense, so no shots really work right. . Your feet are static and slow.

“Something happens in a game and then all of a sudden it’s completely different and you fly. Everything flows. There are all the time, let’s say, challenges that you face internally but also at externally. It’s really a constant battle. All these obstacles that you have to deal with. Really, I think it’s an amazing exercise to stay in the moment because being present is, I think, something which is the best state an athlete is looking for because then you are able to, I guess, shut out or turn off certain things and distractions and just focus on the next point. everyone is talking about, it’s really hard to reach but very easy to lose.

Yet he lives there so often.