MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Nick Kyrgios’s Australian Open ended with a gallant fourth round defeat by an inspired Grigor Dimitrov on Sunday but the maverick talent leaves Melbourne Park after winning over a nation.
A year ago, Kyrgios bowed out of his home grand slam to spectators’ jeers following a tempestuous five-set capitulation to Andreas Seppi in the second round.
Ovation - Rod - Laver - Arena - Crowd
Yet he was given a standing ovation from the Rod Laver Arena crowd after his 7-6(3) 7-6(4) 4-6 7-6(4) loss to third seed Dimitrov, which capped a fruitful home summer including the Brisbane International title.
Australia’s wait for a men’s champion will now stretch to 43 years but Kyrgios’s composure throughout a roller-coaster week will raise fresh hopes among compatriots that the drought may break soon.
Tonight - Players - World - Went - Swinging
“I lost tonight to one of the best players in the world. Went down swinging,” the 22-year-old told reporters.
“Obviously I feel a lot better this time around. Last year I really didn’t know what I was going to do after the Australian Open.
Vision - Goal - Year - Head - Space
“I feel like I have more of a vision and goal for this year. I think I’m in a good head space.
“I just feel like I’m trying to get better. You know, there were periods where I stepped on the court last year where I was just doing it for the sake of doing it.”
Dimitrov will go into a quarter-final...
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Measuring his life out one teaspoon at a time.