A grieving Nick Kyrgios advanced to the second round of the Madrid Open on Monday with a 7-6 (1), 6-4 win over Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis.
The 22-year-old Aussie had pulled out of the Estoril Open last week so he could attend his grandfather’s funeral in Canberra and only made it to Madrid after he was urged by his family to play.
He fired 14 aces and faced zero break points in his 77-minute win over Baghdatis, but confessed that it’s been difficult keeping his head in the game so soon after his grandfather’s passing.
“It was tough, obviously a lot going on the last week and a half. I haven’t really trained much, it was really tough,” Kyrgios told Sport360° after the match.
“Didn’t really know if I was going to play this week. I didn’t really have high expectations this week. I feel very rusty on the court, I played some doubles yesterday with Jack (Sock), he somehow carried me for the win there. I’m happy to be back out here but obviously my mind isn’t fully invested in tennis at the minute. It’s tough.”
Asked on what pushed him to play Madrid, the young Aussie said: “I guess family. Just my family. They thought ‘you should play, you’ve got a lot of big tournaments coming up’. It was a tough decision. Honestly I wanted to stay home. But ultimately I’m a tennis player, so you know I can’t keep missing tournaments I guess.”
Kyrgios, seeded No16 in the Spanish capital where he awaits either Bernard Tomic or Ryan Harrison in the second round, is having a strong 2017 where he has amassed a 16-4 win-loss record, has made the semi-finals in Marseille, Acapulco, and Miami, and has beaten Novak Djokovic twice.
The world No20 remains uncertain about his own expectations this clay swing but remains hopeful he can replicate the success he’s had earlier in the season.
“Honestly I don’t know yet. I’m just trying to get through every day, one by one, and we’ll see. Hopefully if I’m playing the level I was playing about a month ago in the States, then you know I can do some good things,” said Kyrgios. “But we’ll see. I’m certainly not at that level at the moment. I haven’t really hit in the last two, three weeks, so we’ll see how it goes.”