Kyrgios' bitter rivalry with Nadal

Arch rivalry: Nick Kyrgios and Rafael Nadal.
Arch rivalry: Nick Kyrgios and Rafael Nadal.

2014 Wimbledon, grass, R16, Kyrgios 7-6 (7-5) 5-7 7-6 (7-5) 6-3

With 37 aces, a teenage Kyrgios brought the zing to match the bling to bring down Nadal on tennis' most famous centre court in a stunning arrival on the international stage. Ranked 144th, Kyrgios was the first man outside the top 100 to beat a world No.1 at a grand slam since 1992, prompting John McEnroe to proclaim: "I think we have found the next guy in the men's game. I couldn't believe he could keep that up all match. He had this feeling about him that he absolutely believed that he would win. He is acting to me like he can win the whole tournament. The last guy I saw like that was Boris Becker, a teenager who just believed he would beat everything that was put in his way."

2016 Rome Masters, clay, R32, Nadal 6-7 (3-7) 6-2 6-4

Now the youngest player in the top 20 and tipped by Nadal pre-match as a future grand slam champion, Kyrgios had the great Spaniard on guard - and for good reason with the Australian upstart storming the net to snatch the first set in a tiebreaker to prove he was no mug on clay either. But staring down the barrel of a rare defeat on dirt, the King of Clay raised his game to claim the next two sets and level their career series at 1-1.

2019 Acapulco, hard, R16, Kyrgios 3-6 7-6 (7-2) 7-6 (8-6)

Kyrgios overcame a back injury, nausea and two medical time-outs then saved three match points from 6-3 down in the deciding tiebreaker to inflict a third defeat on the mighty Spaniard. Infuriated by Kyrgios's clever use of the under-arm serve, Nadal accused his enigmatic rival of being unsporting in a bitter aftermath. "He's a player who has enormous talent, could be winning grand slams or fighting for the No.1 but he lacks respect for the crowd, the rival and towards himself." It was water off a duck's back for Kyrgios, who hit back with: "I'm different, Rafa is different. He can focus on what he needs to do. He doesn't know the journey I've been through, he doesn't know me. So I'm not going to listen at all. That's the way I play. That's the way he plays, he's very slow between points and the rule of the book says you have to play at the speed of the server. But Rafa has the speed every time. I've got my game. I'm not going to take that (Nadal's comment) into consideration at all."

2019 Wimbledon, grass, R64, Nadal 6-3 3-6 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (7-3)

Kyrgios set the stage for another spicy showdown after branding Nadal "super salty" and the Spaniard's long-time coach Uncle Toni "an idiot" in an explosive podcast barely a month earlier. Also captured by fans at the Dog & Fox pub in Wimbledon village the night before, Kyrgios dropped the first set rather tamely before bursting to life with some scintillating tennis. The Spaniard had to pull out all stops in two tiebreakers to avoid a second centre-court loss to his bitter rival who made no apologies for drilling a forehand straight into Nadal's body when he was at the net. "Why would I apologise? Dude's got how many slams? How much money in the bank account? I think he can take a ball to the chest."

Australian Associated Press