‘She’s so bossy’: The star taming Kyrgios
HE WAS about only 100m from where he fell to Rafael Nadal in front of what seemed like the entire world's gaze, but that small distance made a huge difference to Nick Kyrgios.
Kyrgios was the talk of the tennis world on Friday morning (AEST) after his four-set tussle against the world No.2 produced sensational tennis, umpire abuse and complaints about Nadal's time-wasting tactics.
He spoke about taking a trip to the Bahamas after his Wimbledon campaign ended, but first Kyrgios had some unfinished business at the All England Club.
Less than 24 hours after his loss to Nadal, he was pairing up with new mixed doubles partner Desirae Krawczyk in the more intimate surrounds of Court 18.
Relieved of the burden of singles, Kyrgios smiled more than he scowled as he teamed up with Krawczyk for the first time.
The partnership came about when he "slid into her DMs", and after their 7-6 6-7 5-7 loss to Marcus Daniell and Jennifer Brady, Kyrgios said he had asked the American to join him in London because he wanted to put the fun back in his tennis.
"I think that (having fun) is the most important thing. That's why we play," Kyrgios said.
"I didn't want to, you know, come off like a creep when I asked her. I just genuinely wanted to play. You know, just have a lot of fun."
Krawczyk might have been caught on the hop by the Aussie's surprise request, but that wasn't a bad thing.
"It wasn't creepy. I was just caught off-guard," she said.
"No, he just asked a random question, 'Do you want to play mixed at Wimby?'
"I was, like, 'Sure, why not?' Thought it would be fun."
It certainly looked fun from a vantage point just metres from the players where you could see every bead of sweat drip down Kyrgios's forehead as he prepared to serve.
They barely stopped laughing the entire time. After a quick exchange during the warm-up, Kyrgios turned to the area reserved for friends and families, smiled and said: "She's crazy bossy."
Krawczyk didn't hear him at the time, but when she found about the one-liner, she wasn't impressed. We'll get to that later.
Kyrgios's match against Nadal was defined by blow-ups, but he was on his best behaviour alongside the new woman in his life. There were no temper tantrums, no complaints and not nearly as much self-admonishment.
He was upset when he missed a volley late in the first set but restrained himself, gently under-arming his racquet towards his seat as the lost point led to a changeover.
All Krawcyzk did was laugh and pretty soon Kyrgios was losing it too.
In the second set, Brady got her challenge protocol wrong and conceded the point. Kyrgios was amazed when the chair umpire announced it.
"Am I really getting an umpire's decision right now? No way," he said. "This is the first time."
It was clear who was in charge out there. Krawczyk giggled, punched Kyrgios playfully on the arm and gave him a "sshhhh!" In fact, she did it twice for good measure.
The chemistry on court translated into their post-match press conference. Just like earlier in the day, neither one of them could stop laughing. That was until one reporter brought up Kyrgios's "crazy bossy" gibe.
Feigning (we think) mock outrage upon hearing this revelation, Krawczyk turned, open-mouthed and demanded answers. "Wow. Bossy? Seriously? I just call plays. You're … wow," she said.
Just like she wasn't afraid to order Kyrgios around on the court, she had no trouble calling him out off it. After the 24-year-old said he was going to go home and get a good rest tonight, Krawczy stepped in.
"Are you? Full of s***. Full of s***. Sorry for my language," he said. "I'm sure they (the journalists) all believe that."
Kyrgios was the drawcard, but for some Krawczyk soon became the main attention. Half a dozen inebriated, fedora-wearing Aussies decked out in party shirts, making up the peanut gallery in one corner of the court, were newly converted fans as they chirped Kyrgios but made the American aware marriage wasn't off the cards with any of them if she was game.
Krawczyk said she'd never experienced anything like the atmosphere her partner brought with him, "drunk guys hitting on you all the time" included, as Kyrgios put it.
"They were like seagulls, like, 'Des, Des, Des, Des'," she said. "It was definitely fun. I didn't have to do much on the serves. It was great. It was a lot of fun."
Kyrgios said he was more hurt by this loss than he was about the Nadal result because he felt like he'd let his partner down. But Krawczyk wasn't having any of it.
Kyrgios always wants to entertain - both his paying audience and himself - when he plays, but believes he gets persecuted by the media for doing so. Against Nadal, Kyrgios played in front of nearly 15,000 people. Today, at full capacity, he would have had 782 seated spectators - and they all left satisfied.
Court 18 has two narrow stretches of seats that run along the tram lines, about four rows deep each. At one end is a mini-grandstand and on one side, high above court level, is a grassy area where people unable to get a seat look over a railing and down at the action.
Krawczyk said Kyrgios could be a really good doubles player.
And if those two team up again and happen to play on Court 18, we can guarantee there'll be even more people jostling for spots on the gantry above.