LONDON (Reuters) - To the disappointment of those bemoaning a lack of “characters” at Wimbledon, Nick Kyrgios was beaten in four sets by Richard Gasquet on Monday, bowing out of the tournament with his usual mix of brilliance and belligerence.
The Australian 20-year-old’s on-court behaviour often resembles that of a hormonal teenager and he threw in the full range on Monday with a “tanked” game, a warning for an audible obscenity and a seemingly endless running debate with the umpire.
None of it could put off Gasquet, however, who triumphed 7-5 6-1 6-7(7) 7-6(6) to take full revenge for losing to Kyrgios a year ago when the Frenchman managed to blow a record-equalling nine match points.
This time Gasquet was content to be the Bjorn Borg to Kyrgios’s John McEnroe, losing his ice-cool demeanour only briefly when he smashed a racket after losing the third set tie-break.
Kyrgios shot to fame on the back of knocking Rafa Nadal out of Wimbledon last year and since then has been building a reputation as the hothead of the men’s tour.
In his first match at Wimbledon this year he escaped punishment when he appeared to call an official “dirty scum” by saying he was addressing himself.
In his next match he launched another attack on the umpire, saying: “Does it feel good to be up there in that chair? Does it make you feel strong?”
He fumed again on Monday when a technical fault meant the big screen could not show the Hawk-Eye image of one of his failed challenges, while he chuntered away to himself and anyone else he could think of every time things went against him.
Having lost the first set and then being broken to trail 2-0 in the second, he was booed after sulking his way through the third game, sometimes not even attempting a token attempt to return Gasquet’s serves.
However, when it was going well he had the Number Two court crowd eating out of his hands, hugging a ball boy, chatting and laughing with fans and banging his head after opting for one too many drop shots.
He certainly offers entertainment and makes the crowd feel a part of the event -- something of a rarity in a modern game often criticised for its anodyne stars.
But amid his power, invention and chat, there are still too many errors and poor shot choices -- a combination that is usually found out in the second week of a grand slam.
Gasquet bided his time and eventually ground down his rival with a succession of silky backhands that left the Australian appealing to the skies to explain how such a thing could happen.
Editing by: Toby Davis