Kyrgios, Venus Rock Mixed Doubles Debut At Wimbledon
Nick Kyrgios and Venus Williams made their much-anticipated mixed doubles debut at Wimbledon on Friday, and they delivered with a highly entertaining 6-3, 3-6, 7-5 victory over Austin Krajicek and Sabrina Santamaria.
While Kyrgios is well-known for putting on a show in his singles matches, the Aussie said he made an effort to keep his cool and focus on the task at hand in doubles. But he still managed to get a few laughs – and lessons – out of Williams in the process.
“I think half the time she was just laughing at my accent, possibly,” Kyrgios joked after the match, adding, “I was getting so mad at past points, things that were a bit unlucky, and she was, like, ‘I don't even remember that.’ She has such a fast memory. I think that's one thing I actually have to take from her.”
This team name is 🔥🔥— ATP Tour (@atptour) July 2, 2021
Venus owns 14 Grand Slams in doubles (all w/S. Williams) and has won the 1998 Australian Open and 1998 Roland Garros in mixed doubles (w/ Gimelstob). Living up to the former WTA World No. 1’s weighty legacy added a bit of pressure, Kyrgios admitted, but also more motivation.
“I've played a lot of mixed doubles and a lot of doubles. But there was definitely some added pressure. I usually don't really get affected by [it], playing doubles I actually feel like is a bit of fun,” he said. “But definitely today I felt a bit of pressure playing with Venus.
“I just wanted to, not put on a good showing or anything, I really wanted to win. I've never really wanted to win a mixed doubles or a doubles match that much before. I was really trying hard.
“It was just a lot of fun. She's iconic to the sport and she's an absolute legend. She'll go down as one of the greatest players ever to pick up a racquet when it's all said and done.”
Team ‘Vicktorious’ needed a few games to get their communication sorted out, with Krajicek and Santamaria directing traffic up the middle up the court to great success. But they quickly found their feet to claim the opening set, and rallied the fans on No. 2 Court after dropping the second.
After being down a break in the final set, Kyrgios and Williams fought their way back to level terms, and shook off two break points at 5-5. They sealed the victory with their third break of the match as Williams held her ground in a cross-court rally with Santamaria, before Kyrgios poached at the net to earn the error, booking a place into the second round.
The pair were all smiles as they earned a standing ovation from the packed, half-capacity crowd on No. 2 Court – with Venus playing it cool after getting their wires crossed one last time (see below).
“I'm just glad that we got a win today, and she enjoyed herself too. She said she had so much fun,” Kyrgios said. “It was a packed crowd out there on Court No. 2, which is awesome for mixed doubles. It was just honestly a lot of fun. I'm really looking forward to seeing what we can do in the event.”
With the victory, Kyrgios equaled his best mixed doubles result. He has previously reached the second round at Grand Slams four times, most recently at the 2020 Australian Open (w/ Anisimova). The pair will next face fourth seeds Edouard Roger-Vasselin and Nicole Melichar.