Nick Kyrgios said he felt “disappointed” not to be playing Rafael Nadal in the Wimbledon semi-finals after the Spaniard withdrew due to injury.
Kyrgios is the first Australian since 2003 to reach the men’s singles final at the All England Club, where he will meet Novak Djokovic or Cameron Norrie for the title on Sunday.
The 27-year-old received a walkover when Nadal pulled out of Friday’s second semi-final with an abdominal injury he suffered during his epic five-set quarter-final victory against Taylor Fritz.
Kyrgios responded to Nadal’s announcement by writing on Instagram: “Different players, different personalities. @rafaelnadal I hope your recovery goes well and we all hope to see you healthy soon. till next time…”.
At Friday’s press conference, he said: “Honestly my first feeling was a bit of disappointment. My energy was so focused on playing him and tactically how I’m going to go out there and play, the emotions of walking out there, all that type of stuff.
“But, you know, it wouldn’t have been easy for him to do that. I’m sure that a lot of his team members and himself, there would be a part of him that wanted to play, for sure. He barely lost a match this year. He wanted to probably go for all four. So it wouldn’t be easy.
“I thought I’d just put just a nice post up to say, like, We’ve had a lot of run-ins, a lot of battles. I’m sure at the end of the day everyone did want to see us go to war out there.
“I hope he just gets better.”
Kyrgios said he will take “every positive” out of his bye to Sunday’s final and rest his body after a “shocking’ night’s sleep.
“Obviously at a Grand Slam you want to have those matches. I think in a way, exactly right what you said, the competitive juices, you want to have those going, the adrenaline. That’s just something that I’m going to have to go into the final without that semi-final kind of experience,” said Kyrgios.
“But that’s okay. I’m going to take every positive. I get to rest my body a little bit. It’s not bad going in there feeling fresh.
“I had a shocking sleep last night, though, to be honest. I probably got an hour’s sleep just with everything, like the excitement. I had so much anxiety, I was already feeling so nervous, and I don’t feel nervous usually.
“I just know there’s a lot of people that want me to do well and give my best. But I had a shocking sleep last night. Hopefully I can get some sleep tonight (smiling).”
The unseeded Kyrgios, who was a former No 1 in the juniors, will now play in his first singles Grand Slam final.
“I never thought I’d be here at all, to be brutally honest with you,” admitted Kyrgios. “Obviously when I was No 1 junior in the world and I was playing here as a junior, I can’t give enough credit to juniors, what it did for my confidence. Being around the Grand Slams at that young age, being around some of the top players, the facility, I don’t think I would have had the breakthrough in the men’s so quickly. But I never thought that I’d be playing.
“I saw some of the professionals walking around and I’d be a junior here, and I never thought I’d be playing for the actual men’s title. I feel like it’s the pinnacle of tennis. Once you are able to raise a Grand Slam trophy, that’s like, I mean, kind of what else is there to achieve?