Amid a long day and night of striving at the U.S. Open — 87 singles matches in a mad dash to make up for Tuesday’s rainouts — one fellow appeared to call off the search for tennis glory.
Nick Kyrgios, the decidedly fickle 22-year-old who lurches from dazzling play to indifference, lost to fellow Australian John Millman in four sets and then acknowledged that he could not envision himself ever becoming dedicated to the sport.
“Probably not,” he said. “Honestly, no.”
He is the world’s 17th ranked player and earlier this month upset No. 1 Rafael Nadal at the Open tuneup event in Mason, Ohio. But he is cited as often for being a tortured soul — and to some extent, a torturing soul — for his evident but ephemeral skills.
On Wednesday,, Kyrgios was booed during introductions on the temporary Louis Armstrong court, drew a code violation for cursing, disfigured his racket in a fit of anger and developed a sudden serving shoulder discomfort (and subsequent disinterest) in the 6-3, 1-6, 6-4, 6-1 first-round loss.
“I’m not dedicated to the game at all,” he said. “There are players out there that want to get better, that strive to get better every day, the one-percenters. I’m not that guy.”
After two years on the pro tour without a coach, Kyrgios recently arranged to work with former top-10 French player Sebastien Grosjean, and still called 2017 “a diabolical year at these Slams.” He had first-round eliminations here and at Wimbledon and second-round losses at the Australian and French.
Of the chances that Grosjean will continue as his coach, Kyrgios said, “I’m not good enough for him. He probably deserves a player more dedicated to the game than I am.”
Kyrgios’ drive and demeanor seemed in stark contrast to all the passion and effort around him Wednesday, the grind of veterans and up-and-comers representing 53 countries in search of fame, riches and athletic fulfillment. Or, at the least, the next round of the Open.
Alexander Zverev upset. The most noteworthy second-round loss was by No. 4 Alexander Zverev, the 20-year-old German who despite his lofty seeding and considerable potential has only once been as far as the fourth round at a major. He was beaten by Borna Coric of Croatia, 3-6, 7-5, 7-6 (1), 7-6 (4).
In another second-round upset, eighth-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga was ousted by Canada’s Denis Shapovalov, 6-4, 6-4, 7-6 (3).
Among the winners of Tuesday’s postponed first-round matches in the men’s draw was former teenage phenom Donald Young, now 28, of Atlanta, in four sets, over Germany’s Maximilian Marterer. Young American wild cards Taylor Fritz, 19, and Bjorn Fratangelo, 24, knocked off a couple of grizzled veterans, 32-year-old Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis and 38-year-old Croatian Ivo Karlovic, both in straight sets.
Seeded players’ results were mostly according to form: No. 6 Dominic Thiem of Austria, No. 7 Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria, No. 15 Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic (over 25-year-old American Ryan Harrison), No. 18 Gael Monfils of France, former Open champ Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina, seeded 24th, and No. 33 Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany (over U.S. qualifier Tim Smyczek)—all in straight sets.
In second-round action, American John Isner, seeded 10th, and Sam Querrey, No, 17, also needed only three sets apiece to dismiss South Korea’s Hyeon Chung and Israel’s Dudi Sela. No. 16 seed Lucas Pouille of France had to go five sets to beat 20-year-old American Jared Donaldson.
So many players in for the long haul. While Kyrgios demonstrated his short attention span.
Play begins on all courts at 11 a.m.
Arthur Ashe Stadium
Elina Svitolina (4), Ukraine, vs. Evgeniya Rodina, Russia
Not before 1 p.m.
Karolina Pliskova (1), Czech Republic, vs. Nicole Gibbs, United States
Roger Federer (3), Switzerland, vs. Mikhail Youzhny, Russia
Night session (7 p.m.)
Ons Jabeur, Tunisia, vs. CoCo Vandeweghe (20), United States
Rafael Nadal (1), Spain, vs. Taro Daniel, Japan
Louis Armstrong Stadium
Jelena Ostapenko (12), Latvia, vs. Sorana Cirstea, Romania
Andrey Rublev, Russia, vs. Grigor Dimitrov (7), Bulgaria
Taylor Fritz, United States, vs. Dominic Thiem (6), Austria
Not before 5:30 p.m.
Tatjana Maria, Germany, vs. Madison Keys (15), United States
Barbora Strycova (23), Czech Republic, vs. Jennifer Brady, United States
Not before 1 p.m.
Adrian Menendez, Spain, vs. Juan Martin del Potro (24), Argentina
Donald Young, United States, vs. Gael Monfils (18), France