Nick Kyrgios says he will embrace being the “villain” when he faces British wild card Paul Jubb in the Wimbledon first round on Tuesday.
Australian Kyrgios has been in good form heading into the Grand Slam, winning seven out of his nine matches on grass this year with semi-final runs at Stuttgart and Halle before he was forced to withdraw in Mallorca earlier this week due to a minor abdominal strain.
Should Kyrgios beat Jubb in the first round, he could face Croatian 26th seed Filip Krajinovic in the second and then Stefanos Tsitsipas in the third. The 27-year-old could not meet Rafael Nadal until the semi-finals or defending champion Novak Djokovic until the final.
Kyrgios says he is going to enjoy not having the full support of the crowd when he plays Jubb.
“I feel like I can put myself in his [Jubb’s] shoes very well,” Kyrgios told reporters.
“I was once that kid that got a wild card at the Australian Open – it felt really good just to be around, soak it all in, the media, the fans, everything, the hype.
“I’ve got to ride the waves emotionally out there because the crowd is obviously going to be behind the local.
“I’m used to wearing that kind of black hat, the villain-type role. I’m going to embrace it.”
Kyrgios also says he disagrees with Russian and Belarusian players being banned from competing at Wimbledon this year.
“My honest opinion, I don’t think it was a good idea to ban the Russian players to play,” the world No 45 said.
“As a competitor and someone that wants to go up against them, I’m disappointed they’re not here. It’s weird not seeing [Daniil] Medvedev here. We all know what he’s capable of.
“It’s done now. I’m sure that they’re going to be tuning in and watching, wishing they were here. They wanted to play.”
Kyrgios will reunite with compatriot Thanasi Kokkinakis for the men’s doubles after the pair surprisingly won the title at the Australian Open in January.
The 27-year-old says he is not looking forward to playing best-of-five-set doubles at the Grand Slam. Wimbledon is the only Grand Slam where mens’ doubles is best of five.
“I am not really looking forward to playing best-of-five-set doubles – I think it is the stupidest thing ever,” the Australian said.
“I don’t know why it is best of five sets. No-one wants to play best-of-five-set doubles, no one wants to watch best-of-five-set doubles.
“I am excited, but I am also dreading the fact that if it is one set all I am going to have to be playing three more sets of doubles.
“That’s why I haven’t played it before. It doesn’t make sense, because I have always gone pretty well here in singles so I am not on my off day playing potentially five sets of doubles.”