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Kyrgios, Djokovic all set for All England Club final

LONDON (AFP) – Nick Kyrgios can become one of Wimbledon’s most controversial champions tonight (9pm Brunei time) when he faces Novak Djokovic in a final set to showcase flamboyant shotmaking punctuated by likely dark mood swings.

The maverick crowd-pleaser is in his first Slam final at the age of 27 after a roller-coaster career.

There have been tempestuous outbursts, spats with players, officials and media and fines that he has previously estimated have cost him USD500,000.

When Rafael Nadal’s injury-enforced withdrawal gave him a free passage into toay’s final, the Daily Telegraph asked if it represented “Wimbledon’s worst nightmare”.

Kyrgios has been box office on and off the court at the All England Club.

ABOVE & BELOW: Novak Djokovic faces Nick Kyrgios in the Wimbledon men’s singles final. PHOTOS: AP

In a campaign of all-out attack, he has fired a tournament-leading 120 aces, 292 winners, the second-fastest serve of 220 kilometres per hour while being broken only six times.

But he has picked up a further USD14,000 in fines, spat in the direction of fans and was even accused of having an “evil side” and being a “bully” by third-round rival Stefanos Tsitsipas.

He also has the added distraction of a court appearance in Australia next month, related to an allegation of assault.

“I never thought I’d be here at all, to be brutally honest with you,” said the 27-year-old.

“I’m just super proud and I’m just ready to go. Once you are able to raise a Grand Slam trophy, that’s like, I mean, kind of what else is there to achieve?”

Kyrgios said that, win or lose, he has already put his many detractors in their place.

“Since I was born, only eight people have ever won this title, like eight people. I’m just going to give it my best shot.”

The final will be a clash between two men who have rarely seen eye-to-eye.

When Djokovic organised his ill-fated Adria Tour during the pandemic, Kyrgios accused him of “lacking leadership and humility”.

He once described the Serb’s post-match victory celebrations as “cringeworthy”.

Djokovic hit back last year when he said, “Off the court, I don’t have much respect for him.”

However, Kyrgios performed an about-turn by becoming one of the few players to offer Djokovic support in his Australia deportation saga in January, related to his coronavirus vaccination status.

“We definitely have a bit of a bromance now, which is weird,” said Kyrgios on Friday.

“We actually message each other on DMs in Instagram now and stuff. Earlier in the week, he was like, ‘Hopefully I’ll see you Sunday’.”

Kyrgios knows how to beat Djokovic, winning their only two meetings in 2017 in Acapulco and Indian Wells without dropping a set.

Victory tonight would make him only the third unseeded man to lift the trophy after Boris Becker in 1985 and Goran Ivanisevic in 2001.

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