Ever since the draw for the tournament was made on 24th June, every sports pundit and fan would realise that Andy Murray had an excellent chance of making the final on the 10th July. He had escaped from facing Roger Federer in the semi-finals, like he did in 2015 and he is quite clearly the best player on his side of the draw. However, one particular match was eagerly anticipated, even from the first day of the tournament. Nick Kyrgios, the 21-year-old Australian, the guy who had beaten Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon in 2014, was scheduled to meet Andy in the fourth round.

Commentators and legends of the game like John McEnroe and Jim Courier had expected that this was going to be Murray’s toughest match in his potential route to the final. However, as the sun settled on a cool Monday evening, Kyrgios was calmly swatted away by the world number 2 and the way he played in the second and third set of the match, it was “pathetic”, as Nick stated himself.

Kyrgios lacking intensity?

The first set was extremely competitive and just like fans and commentators had predicted, there were some wonderful rallies and the crowd was entertained thoroughly. However, as Andy stepped up his level at 6-5, Nick was unable to cope with the Scot and lost the first set. As all great champions do, Andy realised that if he was able to get an advantage early in the second set, that would ruffle Kyrgios even further and dampen his hopes of mounting a comeback.

Even as Murray’s level of play became better and better as the match went on, people would hope that Nick would continue fighting and not throw in the towel. You would expect him to continue to try different tactics and styles of play in order to find some way back into the match. In spite of that hope from the public, it did seem as if Nick became soft and simply did not perform to his best level.

After the match, it seemed like the Australian had quite a lot of soul-searching to do. The lack of intensity and apparent carelessness was evident, even to the casual sports follower. John McEnroe did not hold back in his criticism of Nick, stating that he simply “doesn’t understand” what it takes to be a Grand Slam winner.

Kyrgios quickly realised in the press conference as well that his performance wasn’t up to the required standard. Even Andy Murray felt that Nick had “lost his focus” after the first set of the match. This begs the question as to whether the Australian will ever realise his immense potential and deliver victories on the biggest stage at the most important time.

While this could be a crushing defeat, he should look at this as one of the most important moments of his career. On the greatest stage in his sport, he did not give it his all and left the court embarrassed. But, there are many other champions who have faced this type of adversity in their careers. Roger Federer, arguably the greatest champion the sport has had, lost in the first round in 2002.

This was a year after he dethroned the king, Pete Sampras at the exact same stage. But, a year later, after realising all the hard work he has to put in, he got the rewards by becoming Wimbledon champion. After reaching the semi-finals as an 18-year-old, John McEnroe won 3 matches in 2 years at SW19. However, after winning the US Open, he reached two finals on the grass and finally realised his dream in 1981, defeating his great rival Bjorn Borg.

Therefore, while this may be a disappointing loss for Nick, hopefully he know knows how much more effort he has to put into his game mentally, because he has all the shots. This crushing loss in front of millions may be the making of Kyrgios and next year, he may come back with a vengeance to show the world how great he is.