WASHINGTON — Like Nick Kyrgios rambled off a long list of people he wanted to thank Sunday after ending a three-year title drought by claiming the trophy at the site of his last triumph, the Citi Open, he mentioned the match officials.
Then, catching himself, the Wimbledon runner-up added with a knowing smile: “The relationship is still rocky with the referees.”
Kyrgios extended the best stretch of his career and delivered another performance that will make him someone to take seriously at the US Open, saving the only break point he faced in the final en route to a 6-4, 6-3 victory over . Yoshihito Nishioka at the Citi Open.
“I feel like my motivation is a lot higher than it used to be… There’s a small window; I should capitalize on it,” said Kyrgios, who fell flat on his back on the blue court when the match ended, then went back out in that stadium in the evening to a team with Jack Sock for a double trophy, too, defeating French Open finalists Ivan Dodig and Austin Krajicek 7-5, 6-4.
“I don’t care what people say about my tennis, like ‘Always disrespectful to the sport,’ all this, all that,” said Kyrgios, the first man to win the Washington singles and doubles events in the same a year “I know that, deep down, I really try to do it my own way. I know that I inspire millions of people, and I just play for them.”
Kyrgios’ seventh career tour-level singles championship took place where his sixth did in 2019 – on the hard courts of the American capital in a setting for Flushing Meadows.
“It’s just very emotional for me,” Kyrgios said.
As usual when Kyrgios is on his game, the serve led the way: He hit 12 aces and won 22 of 25 first-serve points. He won all nine of his service games against Nishioka, making him 64-for-64 in the tournament, wrapping up the week by saving all 10 of his opponents’ break points.
The only one Kyrgios had to deal with Sunday came at 3-2 in the first set, and Kyrgios turned it away with a volley winner.
“I couldn’t figure out his service game,” said Nishioka, who ranked Kyrgios No. 1 on tour in that category and also praised the 27-year-old Australian for being “more focused” than before in his career.
Kyrgios managed to break the Japanese Nishioka, who is ranked 96th and eliminated top ranked. Andrey Rublev in the semifinals, three times — in the opening game of each set and again in the final game of the match.
This marks some unusual consistency for Kyrgios, coming off a run to his first Grand Slam final at the All England Club, where he lost to Novak Djokovic. Kyrgios didn’t pick up any ranking points for that showing — there were no points awarded to anyone at Wimbledon — but the singles title in Washington will push him from 63rd to 37th, within shouting range of a potential ranking at the US Open.
Play begins at Flushing Meadows on August 29. That’s less than a week after a court hearing in Australia is scheduled for a common assault charge against Kyrgios, whose former girlfriend claimed he groped her.
Kyrgios’ win was shown on Tennis Channel, which pulled the women’s final off its main channel and aired tennis instead — due to what tournament president Mark Ein described as a prior commitment.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.