There’s never a dull moment when Nick Kyrgios is playing, but arguably the most event-filled week of his career took place during last year’s title run at the Citi Open.
The Aussie saved a match point in his semi-final victory against Stefanos Tsitsipas and overcame back spasms to defeat Daniil Medvedev for his second ATP 500 title of the season. With ATP Tour trainers treating his body, Tournament Manager Mark Ein orchestrating an emergency delivery of racquets and helpful fans doling out advice, it took a village to get Kyrgios to his sixth ATP Tour crown.
ATPTour.com looks back at some of his memorable moments on and off the court that week in Washington.
There’s no on-court coaching on the ATP Tour, but that didn’t stop fans from giving Kyrgios serving tips.
Upon reaching match point in his last three matches of the week, Kyrgios asked a fan where to direct his serve. In his quarter-final match against Norbert Gombos, a female spectator suggested going out wide. He obliged and cracked an ace, jogging back to her in celebration before she kissed the Aussie on the cheek and hugged him.
He did the same thing against against Tsitsipas, following a fan’s recommendation to hit his serve out wide before cracking a forehand winner and rushing back to shake the spectator’s hand. Kyrgios repeated the trend on championship point against Medvedev and was once again told to serve out wide, leading the Aussie to hit an ace before collapsing to the ground in celebration.
Kyrgios was down to one racquet the night before his Sunday final against Medvedev. His dad had sent five more from Canberra, Australia, but they were stuck in customs at FedEx’s Washington Dulles International Airport distribution centre and not due to be delivered until Monday. Making matters worse, the centre was closed on Sunday.
After texting Ein with his dilemma, the Tournament Manager sprang into action and reached out to an executive contact he had at FedEx. By Sunday morning, Kyrgios had the racquet delivery in hand with plenty of time before taking to court.
“[Ein] was able to pull some strings for me, and that was massive honestly for FedEx to make an exception and get me some racquets for the final, which was awesome. I’m super thankful to Mark and to FedEx,” Kyrgios said. “Everything happens for a reason. I got the racquets and got the ‘W’.”
Kyrgios wasn’t only receiving deliveries that week. Early in the third set of his semi-final with Tsitsipas, the Greek had difficulties with one of his shoelaces. A ballboy rushed the shoe up to Tsitsipas’ father, Apostolos, who quickly went to work in repairing it.
When the problem was fixed, Kyrgios took the sneaker from Apostolos and jogged over to his opponent’s chair, presenting it on bended knee and with his head bowed. A bemused Stefanos smiled and gave a thumbs-up.
“Some people love him. Some people hate him. I believe we need people like him in the game,” Stefanos said afterwards. “Otherwise, everything becomes too serious. He’s fun.”