Here’s a close look at the match-up, their form coming in, and their respective history at the All England Club.
Wimbledon 2022: All eyes on Tsitsipas-Kyrgios
Greek world No.5 and talented Aussie to square off in the third round
It’s no secret that Nick Kyrgios is one of the best grass-court players in the world.
The 27-year-old Australian skipped the entire European clay swing so he could return to the grass both mentally and physically refreshed and he enters his clash with Tsitsipas with a 9-2 record on the surface this season.
Kyrgios reached the semi-finals on the lawns of Stuttgart and Halle and won his opening round in Mallorca before withdrawing ahead of his second match with an abdominal issue.
He defeated Tsitsipas in a two-hour three-set duel en route to the final four in Halle to inch ahead 3-1 in their head-to-head.
Kyrgios moved into the Wimbledon third round on the back of two very different performances. His first round was a tough five-set win over British wildcard, world No.219 Paul Jubb, while his second was a clinical 85-minute straight-sets rout of Queens finalist and No.26 seed Filip Krajinovic.
“I played really well from every aspect of my game,” Kyrgios said on Thursday after his second round masterclass.
Kyrgios described his performance as a “gentle reminder” of how dangerous he can be on the surface.
“I just wanted to prove to people that, like, I'm really good,” he said.
Tsitsipas is 8-2 on grass so far this season and he warmed up for Wimbledon by winning a maiden grass-court title in Mallorca on the eve of the Championships.
The 23-year-old Greek dropped a set in his Wimbledon opener against Swiss qualifier Alexander Ritschard before taking out Australian Jordan Thompson in straight sets on Thursday.
“I felt confident with something that I wasn't that confident with, let's say, two days ago in my first round match, which was getting that first pop on the return, the depth, having that kind of first ball which gets my opponent out of position,” explained Tsitsipas after his win over Thompson.
Tsitsipas is the match-wins leader on tour in 2022 with 42 victories and 13 losses. Kyrgios is 18-6 win-loss this season.
Experience on grass
During his Thursday press conference, Tsitsipas made it a point to note that Kyrgios is more experienced than him when it comes to competing at the All England Club.
This is just the second time Tsitsipas has made it past the first round from five Wimbledon appearances while Kyrgios is a former quarter-finalist (2014) and is through to the third round at SW19 for the sixth time in eight participations.
The Canberran is 17-7 lifetime at the tournament while Tsitsipas is 5-4.
“Nick has more matches on me in these courts. He claims to like grass. I think his game is good for the grass. I am definitely thrilled to be facing him,” said world No.5 Tsitsipas on Thursday.
Context, personalities, relationship
Kyrgios and Tsitsipas have usually gotten along well and have some common ground given the Aussie’s Greek roots.
Tsitsipas once famously pranked Kyrgios by sharing his phone number on social media, showing it on a sign that read, ‘Call me’.
Each talented in their own way, their approach to the sport could not be more opposite.
Tsitsipas is one of the most disciplined and hard-working players on tour. He has already reached a Grand Slam final – at Roland-Garros last year – and owns nine career titles.
“I would say my mentality is pretty strong,” Tsitsipas said on Thursday.
“If I fall down, I'll always get up and work hard. I never really have these days where I'm saying, I don't want to practice today. I feel like other players would have that a bit more often than I do. If I fall down, I always get up, one thing to get stronger.”
Kyrgios has a more laid-back approach, has almost never had a coach during his professional career and struggles to compete full-time because of the challenges of being away from home for too long, especially as an Australian.
His sparse playing schedule though means he wants to make the most of his time when he is actually competing, and he has really been locked in this grass campaign.
Kyrgios is a natural-born entertainer on court and can be a human highlight reel. He also has a temper and can often lose his cool on court.
“There's a balance. I'm still having a lot of fun out there playing that level. It's hard at times because I want to put on a show as well. Sometimes I feel like I don't need to do so many extra things to put on a show and make tennis enjoyable. I think the way I played today was as enjoyable as ever,” says Kyrgios after his second round win.
“It's always been a hard balance for me to find. If I can find that tennis a bit more often, we'll see. If I can just continue to play like that, I'm very dangerous.”
Kyrgios is 3-1 overall against Tsitsipas.
The big-serving Aussie owns two wins over Tsitsipas on hard court in Washington in 2019 and on grass in Halle this year, while they’ve split their meetings in team competitions, with Kyrgios winning a clash at the 2020 ATP Cup and Tsitsipas claiming a win at the 2021 Laver Cup.
Through two matches at Wimbledon this week, Tsitsipas has hit 13 aces, won 78% of his first-serve points, held in 30/35 service games and broken his opponent’s serve 12 times. He struck 73 winners and 65 unforced errors, won 68% of his net points (47/69) and spent 5hr 36min on court in total.
Meanwhile, Kyrgios has fired 54 aces, won 80% of his first-serve points, was broken just twice in 38 service games, has broken serve 11 times, hit 117 winners and 65 unforced errors, has also been successful on 68% of his net points, and has 4hr 30min on court.
“I respect him a lot, on the court, what he's trying to do. Although he has been a little controversial in the past, I think he's playing good tennis,” said Tsitsipas of Kyrgios.
“I'm going to try and concentrate on doing my thing and pay attention to my own game from start to finish. Hopefully I can stay there and do something great, have a great competitive match against him.”