LONDON : Nick Kyrgios has unsurprisingly become the lightning rod for controversy at Wimbledon following his wild match with Stefanos Tsitsipas and the volatile Australian will bring his unique brand of tennis to Centre Court on Monday.
Kyrgios sent fourth seed Tsitsipas crashing out in an ill-tempered but high-quality third-round clash on Court One on Saturday and was accused by the Greek player of being a “bully” with “an evil side” to his character.
The 27-year-old will now take on unseeded American Brandon Nakashima, who has largely flown under the radar, for his first quarter-final appearance at the grasscourt major since 2014.
“Nakashima won easily in straight sets (against Colombian Daniel Galan in the third round),” Kyrgios said of his opponent in a post-match news conference dominated by questions about his dramatic meeting with Tsitsipas.
“To do that at Wimbledon on grass isn’t easy. He (Nakashima)is obviously playing well. I’m not looking past that.”
A first victory for Nakashima over Kyrgios in their first ATP Tour-level meeting would earn the American a place in the last eight of a Grand Slam for the first time.
The 20-year-old secured battling wins over Nicola Kuhn and Denis Shapovalov before cruising past Galan and now faces a huge physical and mental test in his quest to become the first American man to win a major since Andy Roddick in 2003.
Meanwhile, Rafa Nadal will continue his quest for a calendar Grand Slam when he plays 21st-seeded Dutchman Botic van de Zandschulp in a rematch of this year’s Roland Garros clash.
“He’s a player that has been improving unbelievably the last year. It was a good challenge in the French and I think he will be more (difficult here),” Nadal said.
“He’s a complete player with a lot of great things and I need to keep going the way that I played (on Saturday): playing aggressive and playing with the right energy.”
In the women’s draw, American Amanda Anisimova meets France’s Harmony Tan, who has gone from strength-to-strength following a stunning win over Serena Williams in the first round, while Paula Badosa faces former champion Simona Halep.