Photograph: Andy Brownbill - AP
Human highlight reel Nick Kyrgios lit up John Cain Arena with an entertaining win over British qualifier Liam Broady on Tuesday night at the Australian Open.
If Kyrgios spent a week in isolation with COVID-19 he certainly didn’t show it as he cruised to a 6-4, 6-4, 6-3 victory in an hour and 54 minutes.
“You know, obviously my situation a week ago, contracting COVID, it wasn't easy,” Kyrgios said in his press conference.
“Obviously hearing the news I was positive, I knew what that was going to lead to, the week of quarantine, and not having the ideal preparation, not getting the physio, not getting the treatment.
“I'm pretty pleased. I'm pretty pleased with the way I responded. It was pretty flawless, everything I could control, serving, attitude, all the non-negotiables, I did great.”
The Canberran has often said that John Cain Arena is his favourite court to play on and it’s no secret why. The arena was the most packed any court has been over the duration of the tournament and the fans brought a party atmosphere with them - which Kyrgios both incites and responds to.
“I think that's something I have kind of created on that court. They know what to expect,” Kyrgios said.
“I think from the get-go, I know I've got the crowd in the palm of my hand, and any time I can use that to, you know, spark a moment or spark some energy.
“You know, obviously Liam is a great player but his experience on that court in that situation, when the crowd is going nuts, he has never experienced that before, hence the reason why on breakpoints I'm trying to get the crowd up, get him to feel the pressure a little bit more.
“I think that's the excitement of the people. You know, they haven't seen much sport, haven't been able to do much the last couple years. So the fact that they're out, you know, able to see some of the best players in the world come out, they're just excited to do things again.”
The contest was as typical as a Kyrgios match gets at the Australian Open. There were underarm serves and some pure brilliance from the baseline. The Aussie asked members of the crowd for advice and listened, even if it meant hitting a 'tweener' for a first serve.
Fans who were lucky enough to get a seat got more than their money’s worth from the electric Australian.
Unfortunately for the regular punter, it’s unlikely Kyrgios will grace the party house of John Cain Arena in his next match against Russian world No. 2 Daniil Medvedev. Despite this, the Aussie is keen to have a crack at the reigning US Open champion.
“You know, he's probably "the" best player in the world at the moment. So I'm pretty excited, I'm excited for that moment. That's why I play the game,” Kyrgios added.
“I feel like those matches still excite me, to go out there and play the best in the world. That was always something I wanted to prove to people that someone like me could do, win those matches.
“To play it on John Cain would be - I'm just going to call it the Kyrgios Court - would be fun.”
Kyrgios is due to play doubles on Wednesday with Thanasi Kokkinakis before his second-round match with Medvedev on Thursday.