Nick Kyrgios has spoken about the "real weird" relationship he now has with Novak Djokovic with a mutual disliking of each other turning into a "bromance".
The Australian does not have to even turn up to play a semi-final on Friday at the All England Club after Nadal was forced to withdraw from the tournament on Thursday evening due to an abdominal tear.
Nadal, who was seeking a third successive Grand Slam singles title this year, suffered a reported seven-millimetre tear in one of his abdominal muscles during his epic quarter-final victory against Taylor Fritz. While he managed to practise on Thursday afternoon at SW19, he then decided that he must withdraw.
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For Kyrgios, it has been a stunning run on the famous grass courts, and he now awaits the top seed and reigning champion Djokovic on Centre Court. While he has not always had a good relationship with Djokovic, the pair bonded over the Serb's nightmare time before the Australian Open in January.
"We definitely have a bit of a bromance now, which is weird," Kyrgios said in his pre-final press conference. "I think everyone knows there was no love lost for a while there. I think it was healthy for the sport.
"I think every time we played each other, there was hype around it. It was interesting for the media, the people watching, all that. I felt like I was almost the only kind of player and someone to stand up for him with all that kind of drama at the Australian Open.
"I feel like that's where respect is kind of earned. Not on the tennis court, but I feel like when a real-life crisis is happening, and someone stands up for you... we actually message each other on DMs in Instagram now and stuff. It's real weird.
"Actually, like, earlier in the week, he was like, 'hopefully I'll see you Sunday'. We never know. He has an incredibly tough match today. We all know what Cam is capable of. The growth of Cameron Norrie is insane.
"I just remember that kid with a pink sweatband playing under-10s that I used to destroy every time I played him. Now he's a semi-finalist at Wimbledon, and we have the chance to go up against each other at a Grand Slam is just nuts. Look, I'm excited either way.
"I think a Kyrgios-Djokovic final would be mouth-watering. I feel like if you do your research, I think you would consider him the favourite today. That's who I'm probably going to be preparing for. But at the same time, I'm not counting Cameron Norrie out at all."
In the press conference, he spoke about finding out the news that Nadal was not going to be able to play in the semi-final against him on Friday.
“I found out last night at dinner just before I got indicated that it was going to happen," Kyrgios said. "Just before the press conference.
"My first feeling was disappointment; my energy was so focused on playing him and tactically how I’m going to go out there and play. The emotions of walking out there… it’s not the way that I wanted to get to the final.
"As a competitor, I really did want that match. As soon as I beat [Cristian] Garin, I knew Rafa was a high possibility. He’s someone I’ve had so many good battles with before. We’ve both taken a win against each other at this tournament and I did want to see how this third chapter was going to go.
"I definitely feel like I’ve been in a good routine. People will say that he gets another day off… but it’s a shock to the system because I’ve played so many matches. You play a match at a Grand Slam and then you know deep down that you have one day to wind down, relax and go again.
"To have two-and-a-half, three days off… today I’m going to try and emulate a match scenario… a more extended practice to feel like I’m in that same routine. That could throw anyone off. At a Grand Slam, you want to have those matches. You want to have those competitive juices going. It’s not bad going in there fresh.”
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Watch daily highlights from Wimbledon at 10pm on Eurosport 2 and discovery+ from June 27, as well as the two singles finals live on July 9 and 10.
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