End of an era? Kyrgios stuns Nadal, Murray faces Dimitrov
Challengers to the dominance of the Big Four finally begin to emerge at Wimbledon
A new star was born at Wimbledon on Tuesday as Australian teenager Nick Kyrgios produced a stunning performance to fell Rafael Nadal, the world number one, double Wimbledon champion and the tournament's second seed.
The 19-year-old became the first player from outside the top 100 to beat the world number one at a Grand Slam since 1992, but he is unlikely to repeat the feat: he is now poised to gatecrash the highest echelons of men's tennis, and his victory could be a sign that the era of the Big Four's dominance of men's tennis could be coming to an end.
Kyrgios's performance was greeted with incredulity in most quarters. He battered Nadal into submission but also showed remarkable showmanship, not least when he played the ball between his legs for a winner and the milked the applause as the former champion and darling of the Centre Court crowd could only glare as his public cheered the interloper.
The Australian produced "four sets of staggering poise and merciless power", says Oliver Brown of the Daily Telegraph, as he "announced his arrival on the global stage with the most emphatic statement".
And there can be no disputing the significance of his win. "In terms of seismic victories, not since Roger Federer announced himself as a champion of the future by defeating Pete Sampras, the seven-times winner, in the fourth round in 2001 had there been such a shock," writes Neil Harman in The Times. "Kyrgios walked off Centre Court in the manner of a young player who expects to do so in the future cradling a golden trophy in his arms. Maybe it will happen in five days' time."
A new era may have arrived, says Rick Broadbent, also in The Times. "He has the looks, the hair, the bling and the moves to take tennis to a new audience," he says. Kyrgios also possesses a "freakish serve", "buckets of bravery" and a forehand that is "shocking in its speed, violence and nonsense".
"If it is often premature to talk of stars being born in sport, Nick Kyrgios made 15,000 midwives of the Centre Court crowd yesterday."
Today it is the turn of another player tipped for future greatness to take to the main stage. Grigor Dimitrov, dubbed Baby Federer, takes on Andy Murray in the quarter finals, as he aims to put another nail into the coffin of the 'Big Four' era, which must soon come to an end.
It has taken Dimitrov time to fulfill his promise, but he is now ranked 13 in the world and after winning Queen's he will give Murray his first major test at this year's Wimbledon.
"This feels like a story of the present against the future," says Greg Rusedski in the Telegraph. However, he and other experts, including Brad Gilbert in the Daily Mail, believe that Murray will have the edge and should win in four sets.