Nick Kyrgios: Wimbledon’s newest ambassador

Written by Staff Writer by CNN Staff Writer by

Nick Kyrgios has never been one to shy away from publicity.

The 21-year-old Australian firebrand has shot to global stardom in recent years, by walking out on court with his flashy hair-do and insane off-court antics, as well as by performing outrageously routine and bizarre on-court hits such as covering his racquet in cotton wool.

As he seeks to capitalize on his high-profile career, Kyrgios is also participating in Wimbledon’s new official partnership, ‘The Championships,’ a partnership which he is said to be “thrilled” with.

Kyrgios will open the tournament against the future reigning champ — German Alexander Zverev — in the first match of the tournament, which takes place July 3-15 at the All England Club.

‘Bunny ears’ and rolls

CNN’s John Zarrella gives his take on the bizarre antics of tennis star Nick Kyrgios.

The player said he has been a bit of a “hysterical clown” since he was a kid, on and off the court.

“We play by a certain set of rules, we have a whole code of conduct. But once on court it’s different,” he told BBC Sport.

“When I’m in matches, I feel that it’s fine…You might get bunny ears from the crowd, and once you cross the line, that’s where you earn it.”

For a player who already stands among the sport’s elite, Kyrgios’ personality seems to fly in the face of the sport’s reputation for self-restraint.

But he said it wouldn’t change his ways on court: “I think as athletes we are given the opportunity to do the things we are allowed to do and can. The thing is, you don’t have a squad of bodyguards. As long as you want to, you can do it.”

He added: “Tennis is a sport where if you get two on one, three on one, four on one, everyone is here for you. You can have a spiel and say whatever the hell you want.”

Kyrgios also admitted he’s getting ready for 2018. “I don’t know if anyone’s really talked about being number one, and I want to be number one,” he said.

‘Stomped the ball back into court’

Many speculate that Kyrgios will use his close-knit Wimbledon family — of which he is a part — as a springboard to the world’s biggest tennis tournament in the near future. But the top man in tennis — Roger Federer — recently rubbished those rumors, telling The Guardian that he has not been approached by anyone to share his country of birth.

Kyrgios’ preparation has been fairly calm — so far.

Prior to his service match against Jonathan Marray (8:00am GMT, 15:00 GMT), the world No. 26 flaunted some revealing outfits.

“I’ve had a good couple of days. Kicked the ball back into court, lit up a couple of birthday cakes and haven’t been bothered by snow,” he said on Twitter earlier in the day.

The Australian has a young family, one that appears to enjoy his antics.

Kyrgios’ wife is expecting their first child in May, and he had “a scare” last year when she suffered a miscarriage.

“She’s going to come up to the event, and that will be really nice, because it was my first goal with the baby coming,” he said.

What not to do

The player, and the crowds, have no doubt found Kyrgios’ wit a welcome addition to the tournament.

In a recent BBC panel show “30 Second Tennis,” he was asked how he copes when his racquet is blown off court.

“Well I call my dad, and he makes sure I don’t walk away from the net again,” he quipped.

It’s just one of many fun-filled moments Kyrgios has shared on social media during the course of the recent Wimbledon build-up.

“Thanks to everyone for the birthday cakes. I’m looking forward to my service match tomorrow,” he wrote on Instagram after an energetic practice session.

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