Nick Kyrgios was up 5-3 in the first set against Alexander Zverev, fellow member of men’s tennis’s new guard, when the sport’s favorite hothead hit an unusual, in-character approach shot.
Kyrgios anticipated the drop shot well and got to the ball in plenty of time, where he could have easily whipped a forehand up the line for an simple passing shot. Who knows why he decided to hit a needlessly tricky between-the-legs shot directly to Zverev’s forehand for a volley. Luckily for Kyrgios, Zverev missed the putaway. Usually when Kyrgios starts getting reckless with his shot selection, it’s because he’s decided he doesn’t care about winning the match anymore, but that didn’t appear to be the case in this situation. He went on to win the game and the set, and eventually the match (6-3, 6-4), hitting another tweener along the way.
Kyrgios also lived up to his combative reputation with officials. After a few bad line calls, he picked a fight with the chair umpire, asking why he didn’t overrule the calls, and he rekindled the squabbling on several subsequent changeovers. In the second set he also earned a code violation for loudly yelling, “Bullshit,” after losing a point. Can’t say he wasn’t warned!