Wimbledon diary: crowds are down and Nick Kyrgios wants respect


Matteo Berrettini has been ruled out of Wimbledon 2022 with Covid, while organisers want to get players’ names right

Crowd numbers below capacity
Yes, it’s only a smattering, but there are empty seats visible at Wimbledon this year. To confirm: this is not what was expected when the grounds were restored to full capacity for the first time in three years. Official numbers from the first day of competition recorded 36,603 on site on Monday, from a potential capacity of 42,000. The Tennis Podcast has reported this was the smallest opening day crowd since 2007. Smatterings were still visible on day two too and, in the case of show courts 2 and 3, a bit more than that.

The Queue also appears visibly down on previous years. Explanations as to why touch on a possible lack of sufficient marketing or the effects of the cost of living crisis. But at £27 for a grounds pass that gets you on to all courts bar four, there is barely a better value ticket this summer. And yes, Sue Barker paid The Diary to say that.

Kyrgios rails at underarm serve double standards
It seems that every Nick Kyrgios utterance is pretty much equal parts inarguable home truth and intractable self-regard. Following his win over Paul Jubb, the Australian offered several examples of the genre not just on the degrees of respect that should be afforded to tennis players and spectators, but also on Andy Murray’s underarm serve. The Scot had applied the tactic against James Duckworth on day one but for Kyrgios, whose trademark it is, the response it received revealed classic anti-Kyrgios bias. “I actually remember the first time I did it, was against Nadal in Acapulco,” he said. “The commentators were like: ‘What’s he done here? It’s so disrespectful.’ Now it’s like: ‘So smart. Andy Murray, so smart.’ Everyone does it now [and] it’s like they’re a genius.”

Covid makes its presence felt
Day 2 began with a big shock – the departure of Matteo Berrettini from the men’s draw with Covid. The removal of last year’s runner-up prompted a rapid gathering of the All England higher-ups to plot whether continuing the tournament with absolutely no provisions to counter the spread of the virus was quite the right thing to do. By happenstance Dr Jenny Harries, the former deputy chief medical officer and star of UK Covid press conferences was in the Royal Box on Tuesday. It could be possible she was consulted on her professional opinion during a lengthy break in play, like when Rafa Nadal was preparing to serve, for example.

Avoiding the Peniston pronunciation problem
There are often issues regarding pronunciation of players’ names in international tennis and, being the responsible organisers they are, the ATP put little sound files on the profile pages of all their male stars, to make sure you get it right. Unfortunately, however, there is no such file for British breakthrough star Ryan Peniston. The Diary contacted the ATP asking that this situation be corrected, lest it cause confusion. We will share any updates when we have them.

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Opportunistic Nick: Kyrgios Clutch In Thrillng Five-Set Wimbledon Win

Nick Kyrgios did not earn many opportunities on Tuesday in his gruelling first-round match at Wimbledon. But when the Australian did, he took full advantage.

Kyrgios battled past home favourite Paul Jubb 3-6, 6-1, 7-5, 6-7(3), 7-5 to reach the second round at The Championships, converting five of his six break points. The No. 40 player in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings will next play 26th seed Filip Krajinovic or #NextGenATP Czech Jiri Lehecka.

“Just a typical first round here for me. I [have] played so many five-setters first round. It’s an absolute rollercoaster,” Kyrgios said. “So just super pumped to be able to just move through, really. Easily could have gone the other way today. A couple lucky shots here or there. He put himself in a position to win.”

The 27-year-old is now 10-3 in five-set matches, including 5-0 at Wimbledon. He has not lost a first-round clash this season (8-0). Kyrgios let slip an opportunity to serve for the match at 5-3 in the deciding set, but quickly rebounded to clinch his victory after three hours and five minutes behind 30 aces and 67 winners overall.

Kyrgios, who made the quarter-finals at the All England Club as a 19-year-old, arrived at the third major of the season with plenty of matches after advancing to the semi-finals in Stuttgart in Halle. But the Australian warned he would need to maintain that form against Jubb, a wild card.

“If you look at the results I’ve had the last couple weeks, if I just stick to my guns, the results say I should win pretty easy,” Kyrgios said. “I know it’s not going to be the case. I’ve got to be pretty focussed.”

That was prophetic, as World No. 219, the 2019 NCAA singles champion, played well. Throughout the match, the Briton showed no fear of the big moment, putting gutsy shotmaking on display, taking it to Kyrgios when he had the opportunity. Especially towards the end of the fourth set, Jubb took control with his forehand, crushing key forehands down the line to force a decider and frustrate his opponent.


As is the case with most Kyrgios matches, the encounter drew plenty of fans, with players watching from a nearby perch as well. Daniel Evans, Alexander Bublik and Kyle Edmund were among those who took a look at the match, especially as it grew tighter and therefore more tense.

But Kyrgios’ big serve helped keep the pressure off him, which proved pivotal. And when he earned opportunities, he made the most of them. At 3-2 in the decider, the six-time ATP Tour titlist hit a perfect crosscourt backhand passing shot to position himself for the critical break. On the next point, Jubb missed a backhand volley, and that seemed it would be a fatal mistake.

That was not the case, though. With the full support of the crowd Jubb, who converted just two of his 13 break points, broke back. Kyrgios was frustrated, but he remained calm enough to hold on. After letting slip his first match point by missing a backhand return long, he made sure to put his next return in play, and Jubb missed a first-ball forehand.

“To be honest, how I got through that… I’m pretty proud of myself to be able to sit here as the winner today,” Kyrgios said. “Couple years ago, who knows. I may have lost that match. I’m just happy to have another chance to go out there and try to put in a better performance.”


Nick Kyrgios loses it during an explosive press conference while munching on sushi as he blasts fans for ‘pure disrespect’ after a controversial win at Wimbledon

Nick Kyrgios has unleashed on ‘disrespectful’ fans at Wimbledon in a fiery interview where he spent most of it shovelling down sushi.

The Aussie tennis bad boy was victorious over Britain’s Paul Jubb, winning 3-6, 6-1, 7-5, 6-7 (3/7), 7-5 in the first round on Wednesday.

But it didn’t take long for the 27-year-old to return to his old antics, calling a lineswoman a ‘snitch’, spitting in a spectator’s direction and smashing a ball into the crowd.

The tension continued in his post-match interview, where he was bizarrely seen tucking into a box of sushi between answering questions.

‘A lot of disrespect was being thrown today from the crowds,’ he said having called for some fans to be removed as early as the first set.

‘I’m just starting to think that it’s normal when it’s really not.

‘I didn’t say anything to the crowd until they started just every time I came down to the far end, people just going. It’s just I don’t know if it’s normal or not.

‘Just pure disrespect, just anything. Someone just yelled out I was s**t in the crowd today. Is that normal? No. I just don’t understand why it’s happening over and over again.

‘Have you ever gone to a supermarket and just started berating someone scanning the groceries? No. So why do they do it when I’m at Wimbledon? Why is that?’.

His meal mid-conference angered many tennis fans who accused him of being disrespectful.

‘You are disrespectful for eating whilst being interviewed; you need to get some respect,’ one tweeted.

‘Nick Kyrgios saying he doesn’t want people to disrespect him whilst spitting at people, calling line judges ‘old man’ and then sitting through a press conference eating,’ wrote another.

‘Complaining about disrespect as he sits eating and speaking through his lunch in a press conference. I’d have thought at least on journo would have asked him to show some manners & a little respect for them!’

‘Nick Kyrgios complaining about fans ‘disrespecting’ him at Wimbledon having spat at one of them, all the while eating food and speaking with his mouth full. Chuck him out,’ one said.

Kyrgios added he was happy to play the villain and was later asked if his spitting towards a fan after match point was deliberate.

‘In the direction of one of the people disrespecting me, yes,’ he said.

‘I would not do that to someone who was supporting me.’

The tennis star was then questioned about why he’d taken aim at the line judges with a journalist saying Kyrgios was overhead remarking ‘you’re in your 90s, you can’t see the ball’.


The tennis star claimed he only said the umpires ‘are older’, and went into a rant about how younger people have better eyesight.

‘Factually, people that are younger have better eyesight. Do you not think that’s appropriate?’ he hit back.

‘When you’re playing at a sport for hundreds and thousands of dollars, do you not think that we should have people that are really ready to call the ball in or out?’

The reporter responded that younger people don’t ‘necessarily’ have better eyesight, which only fired up Kyrgios more.

‘What do you mean not necessarily? What does he mean? What do you mean not necessarily? That specific thing, I hit a ball in, the old man called it out, it was in,’ Kyrgios said.

‘So arguably if the guy was 40, he may not have called that out.’

In another explosive moment in the match Kyrgios appeared to call a female lines judge a ‘snitch’ with ‘no fans’.

‘I didn’t do anything and she went to the umpire and told her something that I didn’t say,’ he said in the post-match interview.

‘She found it relevant to go to run to the umpire at 30-love and make it about her.’

Earlier on in the match Kyrgios fired a ball into the stands, earning him a ball abuse warning.

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