Kyrgios brings the noise to subdued ‘People’s Court’

Nick Kyrgios did his best to create his own atmosphere in a subdued John Cain Arena on Monday as he cruised into the second round of the Australian Open with a 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 victory over qualifier Frederico Ferreira Silva.

The Australian can usually expect a febrile atmosphere when he plays on his favourite court, but a local coronavirus outbreak and unseasonably cold weather kept many punters away.

Those who did turn up were treated to some vintage Kyrgios moments — a racket thrown across the court, a few choice words towards his box and a few more at the umpire as well as a trademark “tweener”.

Scattered fans in the open-air stadium, at best a quarter full, wore puffer jackets and blankets, clearly backing the home favourite with occasional cheers and fist bumps.

“Honestly it was pretty average. I haven’t played a Grand Slam match in over a year. I was very nervous walking out here and I knew I wouldn’t be able to play my best game,” Kyrgios said after the match.

“I was very fortunate that COVID didn’t affect me or my family. I used it as a massive reset and I’m just glad to be back out here.”

The 25-year-old Australian has always had plenty of tennis talent and the world number 47 had far too much for his Portuguese opponent, who was once a rival in the junior ranks but was making his Grand Slam main draw singles debut.

Kyrgios next plays French 29th seed Ugo Humbert — almost certainly on what he calls the “People’s Court” — as he looks to at least match his run to the quarter-finals here in 2015.

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