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‘One day at a time’: Nick Kyrgios signals intent to play at Wimbledon

Nick Kyrgios told a press conference on Sunday he's ready to play at Wimbledon.

Nick Kyrgios told a press conference on Sunday he's ready to play at Wimbledon. Photo: PA via AP

After days of speculation at Wimbledon, Nick Kyrgios has announced he’s ready to have another crack at the biggest title in tennis.

But the Australian maverick has tried to dampen down expectations of another spectacular run, insisting he won’t put “unfair expectations” on himself after his injury-ruined season.

Kyrgios, who has been suffering with a long-standing knee problem and has played just one competitive match in nine months, declared on Sunday on the eve of his opening-round match against David Goffin that he was fit to play.

But the 2022 finalist, who was in a somewhat low-key mood, tempered his enthusiasm at being back at the All England Club by admitting there were still question marks over his form and fitness.

“I feel as good as I probably could feel at the moment,” the 2022 men’s singles finalist told reporters on Sunday.

“Obviously, the best tournament in the world. I’ve worked extremely hard to just even be able to prepare and try and play this tournament. So, super excited to be here again and see how it goes.”

But the 28-year-old, who missed the Australian and French Opens, conceded: “I still think there are some question marks for sure. I mean, obviously five-set tennis is a completely different beast altogether.”

After having played just one match – a tame losing one – just three weeks ago in Stuttgart since undergoing surgery on his knee in January, Kyrgios conceded: “I probably had the most ideal preparation possible last year. It couldn’t be any different this year.

“I’m not going to discredit the work I’ve put in for the last six months, just trying to maintain my fitness, get back on court.

“I’ve been hitting with some really good players this week and my body is feeling OK. I’m going to take it one day at a time. I’m not going to look forward and put unfair expectations on myself.

“I’m just going to try to do everything I can, prepare, go out there and play some good tennis.”

The Canberra ace said there were positives in having been able to spend time at home while recuperating, which he’d never managed before during his career, but admitted it had been “heartbreaking” to miss grand slams at the peak of his powers.

“Yeah, it’s been brutal. Yeah, it’s been hard,” he said.

“I lost in Stuttgart, and the criticism was enormous. My first match back, it was hard to kind of just be the same player that I was straight away.

“It’s been hard. Like, I’m trying to expect the same sort of tennis that I was playing last year, and I don’t think that’s fair at the moment.”

And he feels he has a tough opponent for starters on No.1 Court in experienced Belgian Goffin, a quarter-finalist at Wimbledon last year who beat Kyrgios in a key Davis Cup semi-final tie six years ago, prompting the Australian to note at the time his opponent was “just too good”.

The 32-year-old Goffin has had his own injury woes, even having what he feared might be a career-ending knee injury, but he received a wildcard to compete from the All England Club.

“He’s had an amazing career. He knows how to win tennis matches,” said Kyrgios. “I’m just going to focus on that.

“That’s all I’m focusing on at the moment, not so much what I did last year or what people want me to achieve this year.

“I’m just going to take it day by day. I think that’s the only appropriate way to take it at the moment.”

-AAP

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