There was no sign of the rudeness, the anger or the stoushes with members of the crowd. Instead, there were sweet strokes and an almost flawless serving display as Nick Kyrgios made short work of 68th-ranked Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta in the first round of the Australian Open at Melbourne Park on Monday night.
This match was played at Hisense Arena, which Kyrgios says is his favourite Australian Open court. There's no small irony there because Kyrgios showed high sense all night and precious little of the silly stuff which has derailed his game in the past.
From the very first serve, you knew he was on. Someone shouted "Go Nicky" while the ball was in the air but the 20-year-old Canberran didn't flinch. He hit the ball long on that first point but recovered from 0-15 to win that game and the first set comfortably.
"I’m a completely different person on the court than off the court," Kyrgios told Channel Seven in a recorded interview played between sets. "On the court I'm very passionate and very emotional and all I wanna do is win. Off the court I'm a very, very different person."
The key for Kyrgios has always been to bring enough of that off-court persona to his on-court play to douse his fiery outbursts. Mission successful on Monday night. Kyrgios was so cool, you could have sworn it was him that single-handedly dragged Melbourne's mercury from the mid-30s to the mid-20s in the space of an hour.
The only Kyrgios blip came early in the second set when he tried a bit of "Hollywood", as commentator Jim Courier called the bizarre forehand which Kyrgios initiates with a scissor-style jump. The shot missed, Kyrgios lost the point and he fell 0-2 down in the early portion of the second set.
But Kyrgios was soon back on track, his groundstrokes too swift and accurate and his serve too strong for the plodding Spaniard, who clearly lacked the class of his opponent. Kyrgios' second serve was especially impressive. It looked almost as unplayable as the first.
Krygios eventually won in three sets 6-2 7-5 6-2.
"I was very nervous coming out here," Kyrgios told the enraptured courtside audience after the match.
"It was actually very special to come out in front of you guys again,"
And it was special to watch such a dominant performance from the Aussie. Here's hoping he stays on top of his mental and physical game for the best part of the next two weeks.
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