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Kyrgios joins elite Aussie Wimbledon club

After readying himself for what he believed was going to be the most watched semi-final match ever against Rafael Nadal, Nick Kyrgios suddenly has to switch his focus to preparing for an even more monumental affair in Sunday’s Wimbledon final.

For at a stroke, Nadal’s pained press conference to announced his withdrawal through injury at the All England Club on Thursday has opened up an extraordinary and unexpected opportunity for the Canberra showman.

Kyrgios, for so long barely even a nearly man when it comes to grand slams having never got past the quarter-finals until this edition, is now just a match away from joining one of Australian sport’s most exclusive clubs.

For if he can prevail on Sunday against either six-time champion Novak Djokovic or new British favourite Cameron Norrie, the 27-year-old can become only the fifth Australian man in the 55-year professional era – and 13th ever – to take the sport’s major prize.

Since Rod Laver beat Tony Roche in an all-Aussie affair in the first Open era men’s final in 1968, only the ‘Rocket’ himself, John Newcombe, Pat Cash and Lleyton Hewitt have since lifted the Challenge Cup.

If Kyrgios wins, it would be the seventh Australian victory in the Open era, following another 15 titles in the amateur days that stretch back to 1907 when Norman Brookes, after whom the Australian Open men’s trophy is named, first won at SW19.

And Kyrgios becomes the ninth men’s finalist in the Open era, hoping to avoid the runner’s up spot that Roche, Ken Rosewall on four occasions, Pat Rafter twice and Mark Philippoussis had to settle for.

Not that Kyrgios is daring to allow himself to dream about lifting the title that he’s always thought represented his best chance of becoming a grand slam champion.

“I’m not thinking about lifting a trophy or making semi-finals or making the final. I’m just thinking about my habits every day, just trying to put in a good performance on the court, then put in a good practice session,’ Kyrgios said after his fourth-round win over Brandon Nakashima.

“I am trying to stay positive… Once I’m off the court, enjoy time with my team, my girlfriend, and just really enjoy that.

“Then I get into game mode. I’m not thinking about anything ahead or any title goals. I’m just really trying to stay in the moment.”

AUSTRALIAN MEN’S WIMBLEDON SINGLES FINALISTS:

1905: Laurence Doherty (GBR) bt NORMAN BROOKES 8-6 6-2 6-4

1907: NORMAN BROOKES bt Arthur Gore (GBR) 6-4 6-2 6-2

1914: NORMAN BROOKES bt Anthony Wilding (NZL) 6-4 6-4 7-5

1919: GERALD PATTERSON bt NORMAN BROOKES 6-3 7-5 6-2

1920: Bill Tilden (USA) bt GERALD PATTERSON 2-6 6-3 6-2 6-4

1922: GERALD PATTERSON bt Randolph Lycett (GBR) 6-3 6-4 6-2

1933: JACK CRAWFORD bt Ellsworth Vines (USA) 4-6 11-9 6-2 2-6 6-4

1934: Fred Perry (GBR) bt JACK CRAWFORD 6-3 6-0 7-5

1946: Yvon Petra (FRA) bt GEOFF BROWN 6-2 6-4 7-9 5-7 6-4

1948: Bob Falkenburg (USA) bt JOHN BROMWICH 7-5 0-6 6-2 3-6 7-5

1950: Budge Patty (USA) bt FRANK SEDGMAN 6-1 8-10 6-2 6-3

1951: Dick Savitt (USA) bt KEN MCGREGOR 6-4 6-4 6-4

1952: FRANK SEDGMAN bt Jaroslav Drobny (CZE) 4-6 6-2 6-3 6-2

1954: Jaroslav Drobny (CZE) bt KEN ROSEWALL 13-11 4-6 6-2 9-7

1956: LEW HOAD bt KEN ROSEWALL 6-2 4-6 7-5 6-4

1957: LEW HOAD bt ASHLEY COOPER 6-2 6-1 6-2

1958: ASHLEY COOPER bt NEALE FRASER 3-6 6-3 6-4 13-11

1959: Alex Olmedo (USA) bt ROD LAVER 6-4 6-3 6-4

1960: NEALE FRASER bt ROD LAVER 6-4 3-6 9-7 7-5

1961: ROD LAVER bt Chuck McKinley (USA) 6-3 6-1 6-4

1962: ROD LAVER bt MARTIN MULLIGAN 6-2 6-2 6-1

1963: Chuck McKinley (USA) bt FRED STOLLE 9-7 6-1 6-4

1964: ROY EMERSON bt FRED STOLLE 6-4 12-10 4-6 6-3

1965: ROY EMERSON bt FRED STOLLE 6-2 6-4 6-4

1967: JOHN NEWCOMBE bt Wilhelm Bungert (FRG) 6-3 6-1 6-1

Open Era

1968: ROD LAVER bt TONY ROCHE 6-3 6-4 6-2

1969: ROD LAVER bt JOHN NEWCOMBE 6-4 5-7 6-4 6-4

1970: JOHN NEWCOMBE bt KEN ROSEWALL 5-7 6-3 6-2 3-6 6-1

1971: JOHN NEWCOMBE bt Stan Smith (USA) 6-3 5-7 2-6 6-4 6-4

1974: Jimmy Connors (USA) bt KEN ROSEWALL 6-1 6-1 6-4

1987: PAT CASH bt Ivan Lendl (Cze) 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 7-5

2000: Pete Sampras (USA) bt PAT RAFTER 6-7(10-12) 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 6-2

2001: Goran Ivanisevic (Cro) bt PAT RAFTER 6-3 3-6 6-3 2-6 9-7

2002: LLEYTON HEWITT bt David Nalbandian (Arg) 6-1 6-3 6-2

2003: Roger Federer (Sui) bt MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS 7-6(7-5) 6-2 7-6 (7-3)

2022: NICK KYRGIOS v Novak Djokovic (SRB) or Cameron Norrie (GBR)

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