French Open champion Stan Wawrinka gave short shrift to Nick Kyrgios’s claims that his 6-3, 6-4 victory in the Queen’s Club first round on Tuesday was the result of the Australian’s physical and mental fatigue.
Just nine days after his stunning final victory over world number one Novak Djokovic at Roland Garros, Wawrinka made light of the tricky switch from clay to grass with a dominant display against one of the ATP Tour’s brightest young stars.
The Swiss second seed swept through his first round clash in just 49 minutes to set up a second round meeting with big-serving South African Kevin Anderson at the Wimbledon warm-up event.
But, while Wawrinka was on top form, it was a surprisingly subdued exit for Kyrgios, the flamboyant Australian youngster who burst onto the scene last year with a memorable Wimbledon victory over then-world number one Rafael Nadal.
Kyrgios has gone on to underline his growing reputation this year by becoming the first teenager to reach the Australian Open quarter-finals since 1990 and then knocking Roger Federer out of the Madrid Masters.
But, in his first meeting with Wawrinka, the world number 28’s Queen’s debut proved a damp squib.
Kyrgios, 20, attributed his poor performance to an illness and home sickness after a lengthy spell on the road.
“I’ve been sick for the last week. I’m obviously not feeling great,” he said.
“I almost found it difficult to get myself engaged and didn’t want to be there (on court).
“I’ve been battling mentally a bit. I already flew one of my friends in, and my dad is coming in about a week.
“We will see how it goes. It’s tough at the moment, like I say.
“I’m probably going to stay in my house for a couple of days and sleep, play computer games and chill out.
“I’ll turn off all tennis channels, delete my ATP app, and just not think about tennis for a week or so.”
– Pinch of salt –
Wawrinka, however, was unimpressed by Kyrgios’s complaints and said the brash youngster’s comments in press conferences had to be taken with a pinch of salt.
“I think he’s saying a lot of things every day, so it’s quite interesting for journalists to hear that,” he said.
“It doesn’t really surprise me. When I read his interview, it’s always funny, a lot of things you can take. I read before the match he was ready, excited for the challenge, and now he was sick.
“So I’m just saying he says a lot of things, and I think it’s always interesting as a player to read what he’s saying and how his mind working.
“I’m sure he will be ready for Wimbledon, because if he switches off two weeks of tennis, then he can go home and not play Wimbledon.
“He’s really talented player. He already beat some top players, made quarters in Wimbledon. He’s the future of tennis.”
Meanwhile, defending Queen’s champion Grigor Dimitrov moved into the second round with a 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory against 2010 winner Sam Querrey.
Dimitrov had trailed by a set and a break on Monday, but bad light forced the match to be halted at one-set all and the Bulgarian sixth seed returned to finish the job in comfortable fashion.
Later on Tuesday, top seed and three-time Queen’s champion Andy Murray plays his opener against Taiwanese qualifier Lu Yen-Hsun.
Two-time Wimbledon champion Nadal, fresh from winning the Stuttgart grass-court event on Sunday, starts his Queen’s campaign against Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov. – Agence France-Presse