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Bad boy Nick Kyrgios claims dramatic victory over wild card Paul Jubb during Wimbledon Day 2

Bad boy Nick Kyrgios claims dramatic victory over wild card Paul Jubb during Wimbledon Day 2
Nick Kyrgios of Australia gestures in the men's first-round match against Paul Jubb of Great Britain at the Wimbledon Championships in Britain, 28 June 2022. (Photo: EPA-EFE / TOLGA AKMEN)

Nick 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.

Oh dear. Yes, that is how most conversations start and end about Nick Kyrgios, the self-styled bad boy on the professional tennis tour. And so it was on Tuesday on court No 3 where the Australian world number 40 was digging deep against the wild card Paul Jubb from Great Britain. The crowd sensed a major upset and it almost was.  

It went to five sets because Kyrgios never makes anything easy as he struggled to find his form in the first, which he lost to Jubb by a surprising scoreline of 6-3. But never count Kyrgios out, as he is as talented as he can be awkward. And the fully paid-up member of the awkward squad was only 12 minutes into play before he started mouthing off against the umpire.  

Wearing more body ink than he was clothes, Kyrgios showed flashes of brilliance in a match that went over the three-hour mark, even though he had chances to close it out in the fifth set at 5-3 up. The mainly British crowd — who rarely have much to cheer about at Wimbledon — were vocal from the off in support of Kyrgios’s British opponent.  

I suspect, rather like me, the crowd had never heard of Paul Jubb. But that didn’t matter. He is British and that is good enough. The applause was rapturous as the small-framed Jubb moved effortlessly from side to side, before unleashing some down-the-line winning shots.  

Kyrgios had his moments too, and these came in the next two sets, which he took by the scruff of the neck, 6-1, 7-5. But it was in the fourth set that his lack of concentration showed, and his vocal range was more on display than his tennis. But that is what we have all come to expect. The drama is as exciting as the tennis. The stadium was packed and not that many in the ATP top 10 can pull in such numbers as this enigmatic character.  

Kyrgios clearly believes in the line, “It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.” He couldn’t close out on serve but broke to do just that. He took the fifth set 7-5 and looked mightily relieved as he warmly shook hands at the net. Expect more drama in his second-round match. DM

Derek Laud is a visiting professor at London South Bank University, an Honorary Fellow at Cambridge University, Lucy Cavendish College, and a tennis commentator and writer.

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