Nick Kyrgios claimed his more “mature” outlook has carried him to the semi-finals at Wimbledon.
The controversial Australian has had various run-ins with umpires, line judges, opponents, the media and even the crowd during his roller-coaster run this fortnight.
But it was certainly a seasoned performance from Kyrgios as he efficiently beat Cristian Garin of Chile 6-4 6-3 7-6 (5) on Court One to set up a last-four showdown with Rafael Nadal.
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The last time Kyrgios faced the Spaniard here in 2019 he spent the evening before the match in a local pub.
But he said: “I just feel like I’m more mature. I think earlier in my career if I made a third, fourth round or quarter-finals, I’d be on my phone a lot.
“I’d be engaging online a lot, I’d be keen to go out to dinner and explore or just do things to kind of, not necessarily soak in the achievement, but just not conservatively go back to my house at Wimbledon with my team, put my feet up, get treatment and eat, get good rest.
“I think everyone has the same goal in my team. That’s why it’s working. I made it pretty known to them that I wanted to go pretty deep here and possibly even raise the trophy.
“I feel like it’s literally just been as simple as getting some rest. Like, ‘Nick, stay in the house’. That’s not always been the easiest thing for me over my career.”
Kyrgios, now 27, has long been regarded as having all of the talent to win major tournaments, but almost none of the application.
But after cruising past Garin – and armed with a 2-0 winning record over title favourite Novak Djokovic – the self-styled bad boy of tennis might finally be about to come good.
Kyrgios has a court summons over allegations of common assault against his ex-girlfriend Chiara Passari hanging over him, which he acknowledged has made it “hard to focus”.
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Previously he has admitted to having suicidal thoughts and self-harming during a low point in his life in 2019, and he has made no secret of his disillusionment with tennis throughout recent years.
So it was with a wry smile that Kyrgios described the road to reaching the last four of a grand slam for the first time in his career as “rocky”.
After completing the victory Kyrgios sat in his chair for a couple of minutes soaking in the achievement.
“What was going through my mind? Just how things can change,” he added. “There was a point where I was almost done with the sport.
“I’m sitting there today after the match – to be a semi-finalist at Wimbledon, it’s a special accomplishment for anyone, but I think especially for me.
“If you asked anyone if I was able to do that in the last couple years, I think everyone would have probably said ‘no – he doesn’t have the mental capacity, he doesn’t have the fitness capacity, he doesn’t have the discipline’, all that.
“I almost started doubting myself with all that traffic coming in and out of my mind.
“I just sat there today and soaked it all in. There’s just so many people I want to thank. At the same time I feel like I don’t want to stop here either.”
As for facing Nadal, whom he beat as a teenager on Centre Court in 2014, Kyrgios insisted: “That would probably be the most-watched match of all time.”