Nick Kyrgios declares himself a Wimbledon threat
NICK Kyrgios has declared himself a serious Wimbledon threat after denying Andy Murray in a gripping Fever-Tree Championships victory at Queen's Club.
Winless in five previous meetings with the former world No 1, Kyrgios posted a 2-6 7-6 (7-4) 7-5 victory over the dual Wimbledon and five-time Queen's champion.
Relieved with victory, Kyrgios is building significant impetus towards the All England Club after pushing Roger Federer to the limit in Stuttgart last week and finally beating nemesis Murray - both on grass.
"For me, if I'm feeling good physically and if I believe in myself, there is no reason why I can't go into Wimbledon as one of the serious threats," Kyrgios said.
"I played well against Roger last week. Up 3-1 in the (third-set) breaker serving. I wouldn't say we played unbelievable today. I played okay.
"I feel like I'm in good form on the grass. My timing, my hands and stuff is all good. I have just got to keep staying healthy, hopefully, and I'll be fine."
Now recovered from elbow soreness, Kyrgios tweaked his hip early in the first set - a year after seriously injuring his hip on the same court and then struggling at Wimbledon.
"Two-all in the first set I split-stepped and my hip kind of, I don't know, just kind of pinched a little bit," he said.
"And I was kind of dealing with a little bit of pain for the whole match, as ridiculous as that sounds, because the guy (Murray) was out from a hip injury.
"My hip was just a little bit sore. But apart from that, I mean, I'm feeling okay.
"I just wanted to go out there and play another good match. I came out there, I was excited.
"I mean, when I saw the draw I was excited. To play another real good grass courter before Wimbledon is ideal."
Resuming after 342 days out following hip surgery, Murray double-faulted to lose the match, having saved three match points.
Kyrgios fired 18 aces, and also 11 double faults, in a typically cavalier serving display.
But he was satisfied with his returning - an aspect of an explosive game often overshadowed by a ballistic serve.
"I haven't been returning well at all the last couple weeks on the grass," he said.
"My singles in Stuttgart I struggled to return. When I was playing Roger I really struggled.
"Today I thought I returned pretty well. I broke him a fair few times.
"I put a lot of balls back in play off his first serve. That's really one thing that stands out.
"I always serve okay, like, pretty good. But I think my forehand return today was okay."
Kyrgios will return to centre court tonight alongside Lleyton Hewitt in a doubles clash against French Open champions Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut.
Former world No 1 Novak Djokovic shrugged off concerns over his right elbow with a phenomenal serving performance against John Millman.
The triple Wimbledon champion conceded only two points on his first serve in a 6-2 6-1 hammering of the Queenslander.
The Serb was similarly assured on his second delivery, losing a mere four points on it for the match.
Millman was broken five times in eight service games as Djokovic regained some of the aura lost in a French Open quarter-final defeat to Marco Cecchinato.
That failure led to doubts over Djokovic's grasscourt plans.
Refreshed by a five-day hiking trek with his wife Jelena after the Paris meltdown, he is now clearly back on track.
"Today, I mean, everything, the focus was there, right intensity every shot," Djokovic said. "Every shot was working really beautifully."
The 12-time major winner next plays Grigor Dimitrov in the star-studded Wimbledon prelude.
Canada's Milos Raonic withdrew from Queen's in bizarre circumstances.
Minutes after Indian opponent Yuki Bhambri retired at 1-6 1-3 down with a knee injury, Raonic revealed he had strained his right pectoral muscle.
He said he hopes to recover for Wimbledon.