Though Australians had long been a major presence at Wimbledon, none quite comported themselves with the swagger and emotion of Nick Kyrgios. In 2014, at his debut Wimbledon, the 19-year-old Aussie arrived at the All England Club as a known prospect. Ranked #144 in the world, he’d been granted a wild card into the main draw.
In the second round he took on an experienced Frenchman, 13th-seeded Richard Gasquet. Little fazed Kyrgios. Smacking 86 winners, Kygrios not only struck boldly, he fought brilliantly. Kyrgios would save an amazing nine match points in this match. And once he reached his first, he closed it out emphatically with his 21st ace.
“I think it’s a massive stepping stone for me to finally reach the third round of a Grand Slam,” said Kyrgios. “It can be a bridge for more things to come. My goal is to become the number one player in the world.”
Kyrgios followed up that win with two more victories, including one over world number one Rafael Nadal. He’d become the first man in a decade to reach the Wimbledon quarterfinals in his debut.
The two would meet again at Wimbledon a year later. But this time, Gasquet was the victor.