Nick Kyrgios fever gripped the nation just hours before Australia Day after the 19-year-old wunderkind became the youngest Australian Open quarter-finalist in 24 years, and the first player from the host country to reach the quarters since Lleyton Hewitt’s charge to the 2005 final.
The Canberra teenager’s victory over Andreas Seppi, Roger Federer’s third-round destroyer, was phenomenal. Kyrgios overcame a two-set deficit, survived a match point, and battled a back injury and his own unravelling emotions to prevail 5-7, 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7-5), 8-6 over the Italian.
Kyrgios threw his racket, admonished himself repeatedly for mistakes, swore at fans, gave it to the linespeople, umpire and even the ball boys – basically, he carried on like a bit of a tool when things weren’t going his way – and many armchair critics weren’t impressed.
— Michael Klein (@kleinyheraldsun) January 25, 2015
Do they bring in ball boys with PG approval when @NickKyrgios is playing? Oh for a champ with some manners and not a sook
— Rodney McKee (@tiger_rm) January 25, 2015
— AJ Payne (@TheNewWineGuy) January 19, 2015
But Australia loves a winner, and the brickbats soon turned to bouquets after Kyrgios pulled off the stunning victory, with the vast majority more than willing to overlook the McEnroe-esque behaviour and use descriptions like ‘showman’ and ‘passionate’ instead.
— 7Sport (@7Sport) January 25, 2015
— Wendell Sailor (@RealBigDell) January 25, 2015
— Sally Fitzgibbons (@Sally_Fitz) January 25, 2015
Kyrgios now faces big-time opposition in the shape of Scottish sixth seed Andy Murray after the three-time Australian Open finalist outlasted Grigor Dimitrov in four sets.