Taking nothing for granted but feeling supreme, Nick Kyrgios says it’s too soon to look ahead to a must-watch all-Australian Wimbledon quarter-final with Alex de Minaur.
That’s the tantalising reality, though, as Kyrgios and de Minaur enter their respective fourth-round matches on Monday as warm favourites to advance to the last eight.
Into the second week for the fourth time, Kyrgios gets his first centre court date this year, playing American world No.56 Brandon Nakashima and brimming with confidence after ousting Greek fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas with another ominous serving display.
Watch the latest sport on Channel 7 or stream for free on 7plus >>
A quarter-finalist in 2014, Kyrgios didn’t drop serve once in Saturday’s fractious affair, keeping his cool when it mattered most to save all five break points he faced.
Nakashima is enjoying a breakout grand slam run but, really, Kyrgios would likely have to beat himself not to prevail, which of course the combustible Canberran is more than capable of doing.
While mindful that de Minaur lurks just a round away, Kyrgios is wary of his more immediate US challenger.
“We’ve both got a tough match ahead,” Kyrgios said ahead of his first-time meeting with 20-year-old Nakashima and first appearance of the 2022 championships on centre court.
“Nakashima won (his third-round match) easily in straight sets. To do that at Wimbledon on grass is not easy. He’s obviously playing well. I’m not looking past that.”
But asked if he believed he could win the title, Kyrgios tellingly said: “Yeah, I feel good.
“Round by round, if I keep doing my things, I feel good. I’m all right.”
De Minaur also plays an unseeded opponent in world No.43 Cristian Garin and has yet to drop a set in three clashes with the Chilean, the most recent two weeks ago on grass at Eastbourne.
“Look, I’m trying to take it one day at a time,” said Australia’s 19th seed.
“Hopefully, I can play another good match and just try to worry about my side of the court, doing the right things. We’ll see what happens.”
With inspired qualifier Jason Kubler also through and Ajla Tomljanovic still going in the women’s singles, Australia has four players in Wimbledon’s fourth round for the first time since 1999.
“It’s great,” de MInaur said.
“I’ve had a lot to deal with ‘Kygs’ over the years, whether it’s Davis Cup or ATP Cup. He’s always been there. But just to be able to see Kubler doing what he’s doing, it’s just special.”
Kubler continues his fairytale campaign against American 11th seed Taylor Fritz, while Tomljanovic takes on Alize Cornet, the Frenchwoman who sensationally removed world No.1 Iga Swiatek in the third round.
Kubler will be chasing a 20th victory from 22 matches, a golden stretch that started before the French Open, while Tomljanovic’s only loss in her past eight outings at Wimbledon came against Ash Barty in last year’s quarter-finals.
If all four hopefuls happen to win, as they did on Saturday, Australia will have four Wimbledon quarter-finalists for the first time since the halcyon days of 1974 when Rod Laver, John Newcombe, Evonne Goolagong and Kerry Melville all made it to the last eight.
Not since Wendy Turnbull, Peter McNamara, Mark Edmondson and Kim Warwick progressed at the 1981 Australian Open has Australia had four quarter-finalists at any grand slam.
Heady times potentially beckon again.