What was going through his mind?
Nick Kyrgios has hailed French Open champion Ashleigh Barty and declared his fellow Australian is the woman to beat at Wimbledon.
Speaking ahead of his first-round clash at Queen’s Club on Tuesday (Wednesday AEST), Kyrgios said he was delighted by Barty’s Paris triumph and tipped it to be the first of many grand slams for the Queenslander.
“She’s probably the most talented tennis player I’ve seen in a long time,” Kyrgios said.
“I grew up with her … we were travelling to Thailand through Asia and playing juniors.
“I always knew she was going to be a champion at some stage, just how bad she wanted it.”
Grass is the world No.2’s preferred surface and Kyrgios believes Barty has what it takes to become the first Australian since Lleyton Hewitt in 2002 to taste success at the All England.
“I actually think she’s probably one of the favourites for Wimbledon, for sure,” he said.
“Australia had been waiting for that next player to win (there) … and I think she’s our best chance.
“She’s amazing, she’s gonna pile them up.”
Kyrgios made headlines across the world last month with his disparaging comments about Novak Djokovic’s “sick obsession with wanting to be liked” and Rafael Nadal being a “super-salty” bad loser, but the 24-year-old insists he has no regrets.
The controversial Canberran is also unconcerned about any on-court reprisals when he next faces the pair, with world No.1 Djokovic yet to beat him in their two previous encounters.
“I think if I play Novak he’d just be determined to get one win against me,” he said.
“I have played Rafa a bunch of times. We have beaten each other, as well.
“I don’t think before those comments they were, like: ‘Oh, I don’t really care’ – they wanted to beat me regardless.
“My opinions won’t change. In society today, when someone is being honest, it causes a bit of a stir.
“I just say what I think and I just go about it the way I go about it.”
Kyrgios will play Adrian Mannarino in a tricky opener with the French left-hander fresh from success over Australia’s Jordan Thompson in the final at Rosmalen, in the Netherlands, on Sunday.
After sitting out of Roland Garros with a stomach bug, Kyrgios said he’s now fully fit, but dismissed suggestions he may play Wimbledon doubles with close mate Andy Murray.
Former world No.1 Murray makes his stunning return to tennis on Wednesday, five months after retiring, in the doubles at Queen’s alongside big-serving Spaniard Feliciano Lopez.
The Scot, who underwent hip resurfacing surgery following the Australian Open, is looking for a potential partner for Wimbledon and sounded out Kyrgios.
“It’s great to see him back,” Kyrgios said.
“But I don’t think I want to carry him for Wimbledon dubs. I think he can find someone else to do that for him.
“When I hit with him a couple weeks ago, we spoke about it.
“But it’s best-of-five sets, which is tough. I don’t know if my body would hold up if I happen to go deep at Wimbledon.
“It’s too tough to play doubles, as well.”