Who is Nick Kyrgios, conqueror of Rafael Nadal?


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Those lucky enough to be on Centre Court on Tuesday witnessed history in the making as world number one Rafael Nadal fell to the world number 144 in the fourth round at Wimbledon.


It was amazing enough that Nick Kyrgios's victory was the first time since 1992 that a man ranked outside the top 100 had beaten a world number one, but the fact he is just 19 years old made this one of tennis's most astonishing results.

Add to this the fact Kyrgios showed off with some incredible tennis - and produced arguably the most arrogant and brilliant shot ever seen in the game - and you've got a genuinely classic match.


But who is the young man responsible for this incredible feat?

Nick Kyrgios, of Malaysian and Greek descent, was born in Canberra in 1995 and turned pro in 2013. Prior to Wimbledon he had won only three career matches on the ATP Tour and at the start of last year found himself down in 838th.

So it's perhaps no surprise that his own mother doesn't rate him. Here's what he said about Norlalia Kyrgios's pre-match comments about Nadal being a heavy favourite:

“I saw an interview with her saying he was too good, so that made me a bit angry and that helped! I think I was in a bit of a zone out there.”

Kyrgios seemed rather surprised by his own success when he whipped out his phone and went on Twitter straight after beating Nadal....

Having seen off Richard Gasquet and now, most incredibly of all, Nadal, his stunning performances at Wimbledon have marked quite a rise for the former 'chubby ball boy', as he was memorably described by the Daily Mail recently.

Another profile, in the Sydney Morning Herald, described him as the 'rock star of Australian tennis'. And he doesn't mind praise at all.

This is a man who uses the hashtag #NKRising on Twitter, and also retweeted the following tweet from his own account:

He is a big server - no player had matched his tally of 76 aces after his first three games - but Kyrgios also has magic in his hands, as demonstrated by his quite unbelievable shot between the legs from the back of the court to take a point from the great Nadal.

Perhaps it was a skill learned from his days playing basketball, which he actually preferred as a kid. His mother also recently said that Nick honed his ability to fire the ball out of the reach of opponents as he was too chubby to chase around the court and wanted to cut down the distance he had to run himself.

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"He started playing tennis because my eldest son, Christos who is eight years older than him, was a tennis player - but not to Nick's level," Norlaila told the Daily Mail. "He was Christos' ball boy – he would just follow him around and pick up his balls, and of course Christos had no mercy for his brother. Nick was a quite a chubby fellow at that age, and he was quite proud of himself, walking around collecting the balls.

"But I felt sorry for him always following us around, so I asked him one day if he wanted to try. I gave him a try and, my god, he just whacked it! He really whacked it! And right over the net! The hand eye coordination was just… wow! So I kept feeding him balls. Just… wow! This tubby little thing and that arm strength – my goodness! It just started from there, but he didn't get a proper tennis lesson until he was about seven."

It's not just his mum who's a fan: Andy Murray tipped him for big things back in June:

Like many Australian sports stars, the Wimbledon wild card is not short of self-confidence and a cheeky sense of humour. When previewing his match with Nadal, he told the press: "Obviously, 14 Grand Slams between us, so it's going to be a good match."

Maybe next time they meet, it'll be 15...

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