Wimbledon final preview: Kyrgios out to halt Djokovic streak

First-time finalist up against six-time champion on a 27-match unbeaten run at SW19

Nick Kyrgios, Wimbledon 2022©Corinne Dubreuil / FFT
 - Reem Abulleil

Top seed Novak Djokovic and world No.40 Nick Kyrgios will face off in what promises to be a thrilling Wimbledon 2022 final on Sunday.

Here’s a close look at the match-up, their history, and their head-to-head.

Gulf in experience

Djokovic, the three-time defending champion, has not lost a match at Wimbledon since he retired during his quarter-final match against Tomas Berdych in 2017.

He is on a 27-match winning streak at SW19.

The Serb owns six Wimbledon crowns, 20 Grand Slam titles, and is contesting a record 32nd Grand Slam final.

The 27-year-old Kyrgios will be playing his first.

The Australian former world No.13 hadn’t made it past the quarter-finals at a Grand Slam prior to this fortnight, with his most recent appearance in the last-eight stage at a major coming in 2015.

Djokovic has tallied up 85 career victories at the All England Club, which places him second on the Open Era list for most Wimbledon men’s singles match-wins, behind Roger Federer. The 35-year-old is through to his eighth title decider at the Championships.

Kyrgios is 21-7 win-loss at Wimbledon and is the lowest-ranked man to reach the Wimbledon final since his countryman Mark Philippoussis finished as runner-up in 2003, ranked 48 in the world.

Novak Djokovic, Wimbledon 2022, semi-finals©Corinne Dubreuil / FFT

An evolving relationship

Kyrgios admits “there was no love lost” between him and Djokovic in the past but says their relationship has changed, especially earlier this season.

“We definitely have a bit of a ‘bromance’ now, which is weird. I think everyone knows there was no love lost for a while there. I think it was healthy for the sport. I think every time we played each other, there was hype around it. It was interesting for the media, the people watching, all that,” said Kyrgios.

“I felt like I was almost the only kind of player and someone to stand up for him with all that kind of drama at Australian Open. I feel like that's where respect is kind of earned. Not on the tennis court, but I feel like when a real life crisis is happening and someone stands up for you...

“We actually message each other on DMs in Instagram now and stuff. It's real weird. Earlier in the week, he was like, ‘Hopefully I'll see you Sunday’,” added Kyrgios, revealing Djokovic predicted they would meet in the final.

While Djokovic wouldn’t go as far as describing their relationship as a ‘bromance’, he acknowledged things are much better between them now compared to the past.

Road to the final

Djokovic has gone through quite a few battles en route to the championship match.

The world No.3 needed four sets to overcome Kwon Soonwoo in his opener before claiming straight wins over Thanasi Kokkinakis and Miomir Kecmanovic in the next two rounds.

Tim van Rijthoven stretched Djokovic to four sets in the last 16, and Jannik Sinner led the Serb two-sets-to-love in the quarters before Djokovic pulled off a trademark comeback.

Cameron Norrie took the first set of their semi-final, but again, the six-time champion rallied back to punch his ticket to the final.  

Djokovic has spent a total 15hr 7min on court through six matches this fortnight.

Kyrgios had a tough opening round against British wildcard Paul Jubb, needing five sets to squeeze past the world No.219.

The Canberran then beat Queens finalist Filip Krajinovic in straight sets, No.4 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas in four, Brandon Nakashima in five and Cristian Garin in straights.

Kyrgios was handed a walkover in the semi-finals due to Rafael Nadal withdrawing with an abdominal muscle tear. He has spent 13hr 11min on court through five matches.

Nick Kyrgios, Wimbledon 2022, fourth round©Corinne Dubreuil / FFT

‘I’m glad Nick is in the finals’

For many years, people expected big things from Kyrgios, given how immensely talented he is.

Djokovic says he’s happy to see the big-hitting Aussie reach this new milestone at the majors.

“Honestly, as a tennis fan, I'm glad that he's in the finals because he's got so much talent,” said Djokovic of Kyrgios.

“Everyone was praising him when he came on the tour, expecting great things from him.

“Of course, then we know what was happening throughout many years with him mentally, emotionally. On and off the court, a lot of different things that were distracting him and he was not being able to get this consistency.

“For the quality player that he is, this is where he needs to be, and he deserves to be.”

‘I have a chance’

Kyrgios has had a love-hate relationship with tennis over the years but seems to be in a good headspace and has found the right balance between spending time at home – something that means a great deal to him – and being on the road competing.

He says he is proud of what he has accomplished at these Championships, irrespective of Sunday’s result.

“The one thing for sure, whether I win or lose on Sunday, I'm going to be happy,” said Kyrgios.

“It's such a great achievement that I thought I'd never be a part of. Especially at 27, I feel this is, like, for me, I thought it was the later stages of my career. But I just never thought it would be right here. I have a chance.”

Nick Kyrgios, Wimbledon 2022, second round©Corinne Dubreuil / FFT


As Djokovic noted in his on-court interview after the semi-finals, he has never taken a set off of Kyrgios in either one of their previous two meetings.

Kyrgios defeated Djokovic in consecutive tournaments, in Acapulco and Indian Wells, back in 2017, and owns wins over all members of tennis’ ‘Big Four’.

Kyrgios has fired 120 aces through five matches compared to 50 from Djokovic tallied through six rounds.

Djokovic has won 82% of his first-serve points so far this tournament, while Kyrgios has won 78% of his.

The Aussie has been broken just six times en route to the final, while Djokovic dropped serve 11 times, but played one more match.

Looking ahead to the final, Djokovic said: “The experience that I have at this level, playing in the finals against someone that has never played a Grand Slam final, could be slightly in my favour.

“But at the same time, knowing who he is and how he goes about his tennis and his attitude on the court, he doesn't seem to be falling under pressure much. He plays lights-out every time he steps out onto the court. Just a lot of power in his serve and his game. So I'm sure he's going to go for it. No doubt he's going to be aggressive. I expect him to do that.

“I'm going to make sure I get ready for that one and let the better player win.”