Andy Murray admits he could not help but laugh at Nick Kyrgios’ outrageous on-court antics as the British number one sealed a comfortable four-set victory in the US Open first round.
Kyrgios produced a typically explosive display under the lights of Arthur Ashe Stadium but it was Murray who progressed to round two in New York with a 7-5 6-3 4-6 6-1 win.
Trick shots, apparent naps and complaints to the umpire all played their part in the Kyrgios bonanza but Murray was cool amid the chaos, and extended his record against the talented Australian to four wins out of four.
Nick Kyrgios takes a nap in his chair against Andy Murray at the US Open https://t.co/u4XrMgluMf— Eurosport UK (@Eurosport_UK) September 2, 2015
“It’s important when you’re playing against him to just concentrate on your side of the court,” said Murray, who will now face France’s Adrian Mannarino in round two.
“If you start getting distracted by that, it’s easy for you to lose your concentration.
“I’d say the times when I played against him, I’ve done a pretty good job of just concentrating on my side.
“But in almost all the matches I’ve played, there have been a couple of points where I have laughed on the court or smiled because some of the stuff is funny.
“When he let go of the racquet today after the forehand, that only happens to him. It went into the crowd and that’s funny when you’re playing against him.
“But you need to try to concentrate on your side as much as you can.”
All the pre-match talk had been of Kyrgios’ knack for controversy following his recent spat with Stan Wawrinka and the 20-year-old had newly-appointed mentor Lleyton Hewitt watching on from the players’ box.
Hewitt’s presence seemed to have little effect, however, as Kyrgios swung from the sublime to the ridiculous, wasting opportunities with flamboyant shots and lapses in concentration.
Serving to stay in the first set at 5-4, Kyrgios saved Murray’s first set point with an audacious drop-shot but two games later, the Briton converted with a driving backhand to take a one-set lead.
As the match drifted in Murray’s favour, Kyrgios’ concentration decreased and after missing three break points, the youngster threw away his own service game with three sloppy errors.
Trailing 4-2, Kyrgios spurned four more break points and the chance for a fifth when he opted to hit a half-volley through his legs rather than finish into an open court. Murray coolly served out for a two-set advantage.
Kygrios took the third but received an audible obscenity warning from umpire Carlos Ramos as Murray broke in the first game of the fourth and it was one-way traffic thereafter.
Murray, though, said: “I actually don’t think that he plays that high-risk tennis.
“It’s more the ups and downs. Like when he’s on, he doesn’t play high-risk tennis.
“He hits the ball with a lot of spin on his forehand, a lot of safety and his backhand is a really good shot, he hits it flat. The two strokes are completely different.
“He has an excellent serve, one of the better serves on the tour.
“It’s just the sort of five or 10-minute periods in the match, it happens a little bit too often, where he has dips.
“He misses a few serves, gets distracted or loses concentration. That’s where I capitalised tonight I think.”
It is the third time this year Murray has beaten Kyrgios at a major tournament after previous straight-sets wins at the Australian and French Opens.
The Scot has only dropped one set during his meetings with the world number 37 but was relieved nonetheless to come through a tough opening draw.
“He’s played well pretty much in every grand slam tournament that he’s been part of,” Murray said.
“He’s had big wins and pushed a lot of guys extremely hard and caused a few upsets as well.
“I expected a very tough match, and that’s what I got.”