Nick Kyrgios may have been dealt Novak Djokovic Wimbledon disadvantage by Rafael Nadal

Highlights from day 12 at Wimbledon

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Nick Kyrgios has been warned that Rafael Nadal’s withdrawal from their scheduled last-four meeting at Wimbledon could put him at a disadvantage when he faces Novak Djokovic in Sunday’s all-important final. The Australian hopeful was set to face Nadal before the latter pulled out of the tournament with an abdominal injury on Thursday, allowing Kyrgios to move directly into the final.

Djokovic has remarkably never beaten Kyrgios or even won a set in either of their previous two matches, which both took place in 2017. Although this would seemingly hand Kyrgios a psychological boost at Wimbledon on Sunday, former British No 1 John Lloyd has pointed out that Nadal’s withdrawal could work in Djokovic’s favour by giving his opponent too much time to overthink his game plan.

When quizzed on Kyrgios’ favourable record against Djokovic, Lloyd told BBC Breakfast: “I don’t think he can [believe it]! The way Novak said, he was being nice, but he said [after winning his semi-final] ‘of course it is Nick Kyrgios’ first Grand Slam final.’

“He just threw that one in there because you don’t know if you’re going to embrace the situation. I think Nick will but you don’t know.

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“He’s going to wake up, he’s already said he had one night not having any sleep. I think not having the match [against Nadal], there’s probably been too many days off and too much time to think about it.

“I hope he plays the way he can play because if that’s the case we’re going to have a spectacular final. It’s box office, but it’s tough to see beyond Novak.”

Kyrgios will be hoping to let his tennis do the talking on Sunday after making plenty of headlines for his controversial outbursts at Wimbledon over the course of this year’s tournament. He did just that in his quarter-final victory over Cristian Garin on Wednesday, claiming the spoils in straight sets without too much fuss to set up a last-four clash with Nadal which ultimately never happened.

The 27-year-old will need to find his very best form to stand any chance of beating Djokovic, though, with the Serb chasing his 21st major title as the firm favourite to clinch the honours. He has done so at Wimbledon in each of the last three editions of the tournament and will be desperate to take advantage of Nadal’s absence by sealing a fourth successive triumph at the next time of asking on Sunday.


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