Newport Q&A: Anderson 'Steadies The Ship' With Title Run

Kevin Anderson’s seventh career title at the Hall of Fame Open on Sunday marked a couple of significant firsts in the 35-year-old’s road back from knee surgery. The South African’s 7-6 (8), 6-4 victory over 20-year-old American Jenson Brooksby was his first ATP Tour title since Pune in January 2019 and the first in front of both wife Kelsey and daughter Keira.

The result lifted the former World No. 5 back into the Top 100 of the FedEx ATP Rankings. Anderson spoke with ATPTour.com following his triumph.

Your daughter Keira was there to see you win. How much do you appreciate those moments? Did it hit you when you looked over and saw Kelsey and Keira?
Yeah, obviously during the match I was very focused and trying to get the job done. It’s been a bit of a process for me, and the whole team. I think you need to cherish these moments and then this morning Kelsey said she was in touch with our nanny and was going to bring Keira win or lose. I said ‘Well it’d be much nicer if I can get the win and see her’. 

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It’s the first time I celebrated a title both with Kelsey and our daughter so it was very memorable. She was more interested in running on the grass and posing for pictures. Hopefully this is the first of still many to come. 

You’re very open about the problems you’ve had over the years, but you’re always relentlessly positive about it. How are you able to keep that mindset?
It’s sometimes challenging behind the scenes. In the last several weeks it’s been a bit of a bumpy road and there’s been times where I’ve needed to draw on my team and my family to give me support and belief, and knowing that I’m not done. There’s still a lot I want to accomplish. 

Obviously having weeks like this where you get the title definitely gives you more confidence and it reinvigorates you. Even without the title I feel like since Wimbledon I’ve steadied the ship a little bit. 

I was confident coming into this week. There’s always going to be hiccups. I just have to come to terms that sometimes things are just out of your control.

Was there a moment around Wimbledon that something clicked for you? Was it something in your game or off-court?
I think it was actually the week before, going into Wimbledon. I’d had a few tough weeks, a couple of Challengers, lost in qualifying, I was hitting the ball well in practice, just not finding that level in matches. 

Even parts of the matches I was playing really well, just not consistent enough. I fell short of what our goal was [at Wimbledon] so that was tough but I felt it was still a step forward. Coming to Newport we came with the expectation of winning the tournament. I had to fight hard but I feel like I was able to take some good steps here.

You were Top 10, Top 5 before you got injured and said you wanted to win a Grand Slam. Is that still on the radar?
Yeah it is. I feel like my biggest goal is to win a Grand Slam and win a Masters 1000 series. I mean I’ve come close a couple of times but have come up against pretty tough opponents, but those are the guys you have to beat. 

I was knocking on the door, Top 5 in the world but in the last while my ranking has dropped and I’m a different player now. I still have a lot of belief in myself but you have to understand that it’s a different pathway. I feel like I’m much closer to that, it’s a journey to where I want to get to but one I’m very excited about.

You mentioned you are a different player. How do you adjust mentally to that, having played two Grand Slam finals, to shift your mindset?
A couple of years ago I’m coming into tournaments, Grand Slams, anything less than quarter-finals is a disappointment. A lot of the time I’m coming into tournaments with the goal of winning and I mean it’s still like that now but I think after the injuries I feel like I was missing those in-between goals – winning a couple of rounds at a Grand Slam – those smaller steps that before I wasn’t exactly looking for. 

Maybe that’s when I realised those are the steps I need to take now. I think I’ve recalibrated a bit but incredibly hopeful from where my game’s at, where my abilities are and ultimately my goal is to still win the biggest titles in our sport.

Felix On 'Tough' Wimbledon Loss: 'I Really Felt There Was A Match'

Felix Auger-Aliassime acquitted himself well in his first Grand Slam quarter-final on Wednesday at Wimbledon. But the Canadian simply lost to the better player on the day in Italian Matteo Berrettini, who advanced to his second major semi-final.

“I really felt like there was a match, there was a battle. It’s really unfortunate that I had small opportunities in rallies in the end of the third set,” Auger-Aliassime said. “Credit to him because I think he really deserves it. He’s shown how consistent he is over the past few weeks. He just won in Queen’s. He deserves to be in the semi-finals right now.”

The 20-year-old praised Berrettini’s “amazing” serving, but he felt in the middle of the match that he was positioned well. But one key stretch proved decisive in the match at the end of the third set.

“I think the end of the third and the beginning of the fourth is where I lost the match. I played a poor game on my serve. He did some good shots,” Auger-Aliassime said. “After the [beginning of the] fourth [set], when I started like this, he served better and better. He was more relaxed. I was trying to stay, to fight, to find a way, but it was a bit too late.”

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It was an interesting dynamic on No. 1 Court, since Auger-Aliassime and Berrettini are close friends. On Tuesday, they watched the Italy-Spain UEFA European Championships football match together with their girlfriends in player dining.

“It was tight. I thought Spain was dominating in the first half, and then Italy came back well, scored a good goal,” Auger-Aliassime said. “Penalties, it was a good comeback from Italy. Good game.”

That did not stop the men from competing for the win. Both were trying to reach their first Wimbledon semi-final, so they had to put their friendship aside for more than three hours.

During the match, Auger-Aliassime realised that on Centre Court, Miami champion Hubert Hurkacz had upset eight-time Wimbledon winner Roger Federer. But the Canadian said the opportunity to play another first-time major semi-finalist on Friday did not distract him against Berrettini.

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“I believed that Hubert can win. He plays amazing. But just the score was a bit surprising,” Auger-Aliassime said. “But it didn’t change anything from my part. I was in the middle of a battle, a match. I was just trying to find a way to get through this one.”

The #NextGenATP star will leave the grass-court season with his head held high. Auger-Aliassime made the final in Stuttgart, beat Federer en route to the semi-finals in Halle, and made his best run at a major yet at the All England Club.

The Canadian has climbed into contention in the FedEx ATP Race To Turin for a spot at the Nitto ATP Finals and shored up his spot in second in the ATP Race To Milan for a place at the Next Gen ATP Finals. But for now, his loss against Berrettini will still sting.

“It’s been a good couple of weeks on grass, definitely. There’s some good to take from my tournament here, a lot of positives,” Auger-Aliassime said. “But today I just felt like I had a rough start again, like other matches. It was just tough.”

How Hurkacz Turned A Nightmare Streak Into A ‘Dream Come True’ At Wimbledon

After a nightmare of a summer, Hubert Hurkacz has been living a ‘dream’ fortnight at Wimbledon after defeating former World No. 1 Roger Federer, his childhood idol, in emphatic style to reach the semi-finals.

“Walking off the court realizing that I won against Roger, I mean, [it was] just kind of a dream come true, especially here on grass in Wimbledon,” Hurkacz grinned in his post-match press conference. “[It] felt so special with the crowd around, as well.”

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With a 6-3, 7-6(4), 6-0 stunner over the eight-time champion Federer, 14th seed Hurkacz booked a place into his first Grand Slam semi-final, becoming the first Polish man to reach the last four at Wimbledon since Jerzy Janowicz’s run in 2013. 

But a milestone like this seemed out of reach at the start of the tournament, as he arrived at the All England Club on the back of a six-match losing streak. Hurkacz had been in his best form of the season after capturing the Miami Open presented by Itau title, his first ATP Masters 1000 triumph, backing up his strong start to the year at the Delray Beach Open by VITACOST.com.

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He struggled to string together match wins as the ATP Tour season turned to clay and then later to grass, going 0-6 since winning his opening match at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters in April. But he never stopped believing in himself and trusting his game, Hurkacz said. 

After falling in the first rounds of the MercedesCup in Stuttgart and NOVENTI OPEN in Halle, he recorded a confidence-boosting run to the Halle doubles final (w/ Auger-Aliassime) in the week before Wimbledon.

“I didn’t play on grass in a while. So coming into that match [against Stricker in the first round of Stuttgart], I didn’t have much confidence, much grass-court game,” he reflected. “Here, after winning a couple of matches, I really gained confidence and gained momentum. I believed in myself a lot before that [match] today.”

He has continued to make the most of his regained momentum and find the positives out of tough situations all fortnight long. Case in point: Hurkacz had to fight through World No. 2 Daniil Medvedev in five sets to claim his biggest win-by-ranking in a match which started on No. 2 Court on Monday and finished under the Centre Court roof on Tuesday – leaving him with one less day of rest heading into the quarter-final.

Rather than bemoan his tough luck, Hurkacz told press that he used the experience to improve his game and prepare himself for the big test to come against Federer on Wednesday.

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“I think it helped me a lot actually, feeling the atmosphere, feeling the court there,” Hurkacz said. “Obviously playing against Roger here in Wimbledon is always special with the crowd cheering so much. I didn’t experience that yesterday, but playing on the Centre Court, feeling the court helped a lot.”

Hurkacz will hope to keep the momentum going as he takes on seventh seed Matteo Berrettini for a palace in the Wimbledon final. He’s looking to become the first Polish player to contest the championship match here since Agnieszka Radwanska in 2012, and the first man from his country to do so in the Open Era.

Federer To 'Reassess… [But] The Goal Is To Play'

Roger Federer was delighted with the ovation he received as he walked off Centre Court at the end of his 22nd Wimbledon campaign on Wednesday, but the soon-to-be 40-year-old isn’t going to retire anytime soon.

“[The] crowds were amazing,” said Federer, after a 6-3, 7-6(4), 6-0 quarter-final loss to Polish 14th seed Hubert Hurkacz. “The ovation was fantastic. I loved it. That’s why I play. That’s why I still play now… I’m super grateful for all the support I’ve gotten here over the years. Today again was special.

“I’m actually very happy I made it as far as I did here, and I actually was able to play Wimbledon at the level that I did, after everything I went through. Of course, I would like to play it again, but at my age you’re just never sure what’s around the corner.”

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Federer underwent two arthroscopic right knee surgeries in February and May last year, but the Swiss was clearly happy to have returned to the All England Club, the scene of his eight Wimbledon triumphs, over the past fortnight.

“I was able to make it this year, which I’m really happy about,” said Federer, who was contesting just his fifth tournament of 2021. “I’ve got to take a few days. Obviously, we’re going to speak a little bit tonight, depending on how I feel, then the next couple of days as well. Then we go from there. Just see, ‘Okay, what do I need to do to get in better shape so I can be more competitive?’

“I’m not sure if it’s necessarily matches, to be honest, because the body actually overall feels fine from the matches. I’m happy I went through all the process of taking losses and trying to play in Paris, Geneva, Doha and Halle, getting myself into match toughness and fitness here in Wimbledon. I definitely need to be a better player if I want to be more competitive at the highest of levels. I knew that coming in.”

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The Swiss superstar, who has won a record-equalling 20 Grand Slam trophies, will now regroup with Ivan Ljubicic and Severin Luthi and plan his next tournaments.

“You know you need a goal when you’re going through rehab with what I did,” said Federer. “You can’t think of the entire mountain to climb as once. You got to go in steps. Wimbledon was the initial first super step, if you like.

“Now that that’s over, you just got to reassess everything. You got to sit down, talk about it, what went well, what didn’t go so well, where is the body, where is the knee, where is the mind? The goal is to play, of course.”

After his first straight sets loss at Wimbledon since 2002, when he fell as a 20-year-old to Mario Ancic 6-3, 7-6(2), 6-3 in the first round, Federer went on to admit, “Clearly, there’s still a lot of things missing in my game that maybe 10, 15, 20 years ago were very simple and very normal for me to do. Nowadays, they don’t happen naturally anymore. I got to always put in the extra effort mentally to remind myself, ‘Remember to do this’ or ‘Do that’. I have a lot of ideas on the court, but sometimes I can’t do what I want to do.

“I felt very disappointed in the moment itself. I still am. At the same time there’s always a weight that falls off your shoulders when a tournament is over, when a huge goal is made or missed. It doesn’t matter actually. You feel the weight is gone and you’re exhausted. I feel horribly exhausted. I could go for a nap right now. That’s how I feel.

“The past 18 months have been long and hard. Then again, if I take perspective, I’m always very happy about a lot of things that happened [in the past few weeks, the past few months. I know [I] will be upbeat again shortly. I know how I am in these situations. I feel like I go maybe very hard on myself, I get very sad, and then a few days go by…. Then I’ll be totally fine again and be my old self.

Shapovalov: 'My Game Just Elevated'

Canadian Denis Shapovalov revealed that he used the experience he gained from his quarter-final defeat to Pablo Carreno Busta at the US Open last September to his advantage on Wednesday, as he overcame Karen Khachanov to reach his first Grand Slam semi-final at Wimbledon.

The 10th seed had won the fourth set 6-0 in New York last year. Shapovalov almost mirrored this on Wednesday, claiming the fourth set 6-1 against the Russian. While he felt his level dropped in the fifth set at Flushing Meadows, he raised it against Khachanov at SW19.

“I think going into the fifth set today was exactly what I took. I was in a similar position against Carreno Busta at the US Open. I won the fourth set really easily,” Shapovalov said. “It kind of allowed myself to just, like, relax a little bit and think that everything’s under control, that I have momentum. Then things kind of turned quickly.

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“So, I knew going into the fifth set I’ve got to leave everything I have on the court for every single point that I play. I really felt like I was really in every single return, every single shot. That’s the difference I made.

“After the fourth set, I told myself, just using that experience from the US Open, this is what I want to change and really start the set off well. I think my game just elevated. It’s something to be super, super proud of myself for.”

Shapovalov, who became just the second Canadian man, along with Milos Raonic (2014, 2016), to reach the semi-finals at Wimbledon in the Open Era, was delighted with his performance levels on No. 1 Court in the big moments.

“I knew in the fourth and fifth, I have to dictate myself and be aggressive. Otherwise, he was going to win the match. It comes pretty naturally to me,” Shapovalov said. “I’ve always been an aggressive player. I’ve always wanted to go for shots.

“I knew I had to serve big as well. I think the fifth set is where I served the best, to be honest. My percentage for sure raised. The speed of my serves was much faster. I think it was a real tough battle out there. It took a lot out of me, but super, super proud of myself.”

The 22-year-old will next face top Novak Djokovic on Centre Court on Friday in a bid to extend his run further and reach a maiden Grand Slam final.

Shapovalov feels that while it will be tough, he has nothing to fear ahead of his meeting with the five-time Wimbledon champion and feels physically strong.

“Definitely a super difficult match ahead of me. I believe in my game. I think I’ve been playing really, really good tennis. To beat these players with the way I’ve been playing, it’s not easy to do,” Shapovalov said. “So, I have full belief in myself and in my game that I’m able to win on Friday.

“I think when you’re at the semi-finals of a tournament, there’s not really underdogs. Honestly, it’s been great. Even today when I played the fifth set, I felt super, super fresh. I feel fresh now. Hopefully, that continues.”

Djokovic On Grand Slam Titles Quest: 'I'm Not Chasing, I'm Making My Own Path'

Novak Djokovic insists he “isn’t chasing anybody” in his quest for a 20th Grand Slam trophy this week at The Championships, Wimbledon.

Speaking after his 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 quarter-final victory over Hungary’s Marton Fucsovics on Wednesday, the Serbian is now two match wins away from equalling the majors tally of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

“I’m not chasing anybody,” said Djokovic, who has lost just one set in five matches over the past 10 days at the All England Club. “I’m making my own path and my own journey, my own history. I’m privileged to be part of history of this sport that I love.

“I know about a lot of stats. I don’t know about all of them. But they do motivate me even more to play my best tennis at the events that count the most in our sport.”

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The 34-year-old Serbian, who is currently riding a 16-match winning streak, has won the first two Grand Slam championships of the year — a ninth Australian Open crown (d. Medvedev) in February and a second title at Roland Garros (d. Tsitsipas) last month.

“Overall, I feel like I’ve been hitting the ball well throughout the entire tournament, putting myself exactly where I want to be [in the] semi-finals,” said Djokovic. “[I’m] not spending too much energy. Now I really have to be consistent from the first to last point in next match, and hopefully another one on Sunday.

“I don’t really regret not playing longer on the court. [I’ve] had enough match play. Obviously, [it’s a] different surface [at] Roland Garros, but [I’ve had] a lot of different match play in the past couple of months that [has] put me in the right frame of mind, I think, for what’s coming up. I had enough training on grass. I’m confident.”

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Djokovic has compiled a 32-3 match record this season, which also includes the Belgrade Open title (d. Molcan). He will now prepare to face Canadian 10th seed Denis Shapovalov, who will be competing in his first major semi-final, on Friday.

“We played a tight two sets this year [at the] ATP Cup, which was [our] first official match of the season,” said Djokovic, who beat Shapovalov 7-5, 7-5. “The courts at Australian Open were pretty quick this year, so I could get a little bit of an understanding of how well he was serving.

“You don’t get too many opportunities on his service game, especially here on grass. I’ve seen him play against [Andy] Murray [in the Wimbledon third round]. He’s really feeling great. It’s impressive the way he’s been playing… I’m looking forward to it. It’s going to be a battle and I need to be at my best.”

Djokovic leads Shapovalov 6-0 in their ATP Head2Head series.

Why Rain Delay 'Might Actually Help' Hurkacz In Federer Clash

Hubert Hurkacz says that he won’t be overawed on Wednesday when he meets his childhood idol, Roger Federer, the eight-time former champion, in the Wimbledon quarter-finals.

In fact, the 24-year-old Pole believes that completing his rain-interrupted 2-6, 7-6(2), 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 fourth-round victory over World No. 2 Daniil Medvedev on No. 1 Court will help him.

“Playing Roger on a huge, huge arena, is something special,” said Hurkacz. “I enjoy it when a lot of people are coming and enjoying the match, having fun out there. I think that’s what I love about the game.

“Playing today might have helped me, because I got used to the indoor conditions, the conditions on the big court. How the ball bounces there, all the crowd.

“I think that actually can help me in my next match… [but] I need to be prepared tactically. I’ll speak to my coach [Craig Boynton] and we’ll be as ready as we can for tomorrow.”

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Hurkacz has grown in confidence over the past few weeks and returned to the kind of form that helped him capture his first ATP Masters 1000 crown at the Miami Open presented by Itau (d. Sinner) in early April.

He partnered fellow Wimbledon quarter-finalist Felix Auger-Aliassime, who plays Matteo Berrettini on Wednesday, to the NOVENTI OPEN doubles final in Halle (l. to Krawietz/Tecau) two weeks ago.

While Federer beat Hurkacz 6-4, 6-4 in their only previous meeting at the 2019 BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, the World No. 18 was full of praise for the Swiss superstar.

“Roger is a special player,” said Hurkacz. “What he’s achieved throughout his whole career, it’s unbelievable. The way he plays is also special. Being out there playing [in the] quarter-finals against him, it’s really amazing. But obviously, I’m out there to play my best and give myself the best chance of winning the match.

“He was a big inspiration for me. The success that he had, the way he played, how he plays in the important moment, it’s really special… I think the sport grew massively over his whole career with the way he is, with the [kind of] the person he is.”

Federer: ‘I’ve Got Into My Rhythm Now’

Eight-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer feels that he is in strong shape as he moves into the second week at Wimbledon.

Federer has dropped just one set in his past two matches after a difficult first-round match against Adrian Mannarino, in which he trailed by two-sets-to-one.

“I definitely feel like I’ve got into my rhythm now at this point,” Federer said after beating Cameron Norrie on Saturday. “Sometimes I was still mistiming my shots a little bit, [but] for the most part, I was still trying to play on the front foot.

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“I did that very well today. I thought I had a really excellent attitude, from what I can tell how I felt. That has been something that has changed nicely throughout the last weeks and months, to be honest.”

Federer is aiming to capture a record-breaking 21st Grand Slam title over the course of the next eight days at the All England Club and move ahead of Rafael Nadal again. World No. 1 Novak Djokovic has secured the Australian Open and Roland Garros crowns this year and has 19 majors overall.

However, despite this pressure, the 39-year-old Swiss revealed he was feeling mentally calm during his 1,250th career match win on Saturday.

“Maybe [it was] one of the first times, I just felt very much at peace out there, really sort of a tranquility.” Federer admitted. “I guess to everything I was doing, where I wanted to serve, how I wanted to win my service games, then how I took misses, how I took wrong choices. I just brushed them off.

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“I was sitting on the change of ends, it was just empty thoughts, no bad, no positive, just sitting there and relaxing. This is how I want it to be. I think that for me is a very positive sign, to be honest.

“I don’t think I’m playing because he [Djokovic] is doing well or he’s doing great things. Same as Rafa. I think I’m doing my own thing. It’s going to be another big one for him [Djokovic] in the coming days. There’s always danger in the draw wherever you look.”

The Swiss superstar will next face 23rd seed Lorenzo Sonego on Monday in the fourth round and feels confident with his game after his win against Great Britain’s Norrie, who was backed by a home crowd on Centre Court.

“It meant a lot to me because I thought I played a really good match throughout. The crowd really got into it. I thought I was extremely calm throughout the match,” Federer said. “Maybe that’s why I saved all the emotions for the very end of the match.

“It’s really a win for me, like a reference point as well,” Federer said. “If I can beat somebody of his level who’s played well last week, who is playing at home, who’s played a ton of matches. He’s a good player. That’s why I was extremely happy that I found ways to fight back in that fourth set.”

Kyrgios: 'I Could Have Done Some Damage, It's Heart-breaking'

Nick Kyrgios couldn’t hide his disappointment on Saturday after a third-round exit at The Championships, but the Australian insists he will look to play in more tournaments moving forwards.

“I definitely feel more comfortable getting out there,” said Kyrgios, after he retired due to an abdominal strain at the end of the second set against Felix Auger-Aliassime. “When they embrace you, they embrace your personality, they embrace the way you go about it. Of course, I want to go out there and play.

“When I do play, [fans] definitely tune in. All my matches are packed out. I think that’s the cool thing about it. They’re like, ‘Kyrgios will be playing’ [and] ‘Now he’s playing’. There’s full hype around it.

“I really enjoyed the crowd this week. It felt like I was playing back home in Australia. It was even better. So it was cool.”

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The 26-year-old, who has already undergone an MRI scan, will remain in London for a couple more days before heading to The Bahamas for rehabilitation and training.

“[At] 4-1, 15/15, then 4-1, 30/15, on my service game I felt my ab, my lower left abdominal strain,” said Kyrgios, who underwent a medical time-out on Saturday when he led 5-2 in the first set. “It was just getting worse and worse… I did an MRI. I’ve done all the right things. I’ve iced it.

“I sacrificed a lot to be here, to try and play. [I] put myself in a position to do damage. I wouldn’t have come here if I didn’t think I was going to be able to play a good level. I actually played better than I thought I was going to play.

“It’s uncomfortable. If I breathe deeply, I can feel it. Obviously if I get in some certain stretches, I can feel it. So I’m not happy with my injury at the moment.”

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Nick Kyrgios, who also reached the Australian Open third round (l. to Thiem) in February, beat French 21st seed Ugo Humbert and Gianluca Mager of Italy at the All England Club this week.

“It’s funny because I woke up today feeling phenomenal,” said Kyrgios. “My hips felt good, my body felt good. I was like, ‘Wow, I’m back, I’m feeling good’. The luck just didn’t go my way.

“I felt today [that] I was playing unbelievable. I came out of the blocks. I was returning lights out. I was actually finding my stride. I’ve never felt more comfortable on the grass honestly. I felt like he was really struggling with the way I was playing. I was making a lot of returns. I was hot. I broke him I think three times in the first set.

“If I got past Felix today, which I looked like in the first set [winning it 6-1], I was playing lights out. I [was] confident going in against [Alexander] Zverev [in the fourth round]. Just so many things that needed to fall into place. I’m just disappointed.”

Kyrgios was partnering American Venus William in the mixed doubles, but barring a miracle will have to pull out of the competition.

”It’s heart-breaking, honestly,” said Kyrgios. “I haven’t had that much fun in a long time. I just got goose bumps thinking the fact I might have to tell Venus Williams I can’t play mixed doubles because of injuries. It’s brutal for me.”

Resilient Murray's Clear Message: 'I'm Going To Keep Playing'

Two-time Wimbledon champion Andy Murray flirted with disaster on Monday evening on Centre Court. The former World No. 1 led 24th seed Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-4, 6-3, 5-0, putting himself on the verge of a berth into the second round at the grass-court major. But that advantage rapidly disappeared.

Suddenly, Basilashvili won seven consecutive games to force a fourth set and the momentum was fully on the Georgian’s side. Would the Scot be able to physically and mentally recover from that letdown? Like he has throughout his career, Murray fought back. It is the same trait that has helped him return from his latest hip surgery of 2019, and it is that resilience that carried him to a four-set triumph against Basilashvili.

“I didn’t deal with the pressure well at the end of the third set. But having to come back out and try and win a match, having just lost seven games in a row from 5-Love up on Centre Court, a lot of players would have capitulated there, and I did the opposite of that,” Murray said. “There is pressure in that moment as well. When you’re starting the fourth set, having just lost seven games on the spin, the headlines of that [would have been that] you have choked… and it’s one of the worst defeats of your career.

“[That is] what you would have heard after that match had I lost. [It] is not easy to turn that around.”

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Murray Escapes Basilashvili To Make Winning Return At Wimbledon

Murray’s battling spirit was apparent, and it was not something new. Tennis fans have seen it throughout the 34-year-old’s career. But where did he learn to compete as well as he does?

“I was just exposed to competition from a very young age with my brother and then with tennis and playing sports,” Murray said. “There was that element of winning and losing, elements of [that in] pretty much everything I was doing as my hobbies or in my spare time.

“Whether that was playing football or tennis, golf, whatever, I was always playing games and always competing. I have enjoyed playing board games and that sort of stuff. [I have] just done it loads since I was a kid, so I just had a lot of exposure to it it just comes quite naturally.”

After the match, Murray had plenty of emotions. The Scot was thrilled to win, and he was even in a joking mood after disclosing that he used the restroom during the break after the third set — Murray made sure to note it was a “No. 1” — when the roof was closed. But most noticeably, the three-time Grand Slam winner made clear that he is here to stay.

“I keep getting asked is this going to be my last Wimbledon, last match? I don’t know why I keep getting asked about it,” Murray said on court. “No, I’m going to keep playing. I want to play… I can still play at the highest level. He’s ranked 28th in the world and I haven’t hardly played any matches and I beat him.”

It was a memorable match for Murray, who enjoyed the loud crowd on Centre Court, which helped push him through despite his hiccup.

“I realised the past 18 months not to take moments like that for granted. Enjoy those things that we love doing,” Murray said. “I think everyone was into it today. It was a really good atmosphere, and it didn’t feel like the crowd was half full.”