Kazakh tennis star Alex Bublik pulled a Nick Kyrgios at the end of his match at Wimbledon loss to Frances Tiafoe and the Aussie had jokes.
Kazakh tennis star Alexander Bublik had a bizarre finished to his third round Wimbledon loss to American Frances Tiafoe — and Aussie Nick Kyrgios for one saw the lighter side.
Bublik lost 3-6 7-6 7-6 6-4 in a tight match but raised eyebrows when late in the match he reached into his bag of tricks in an apparent bid to unsettle Tiafoe.
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Down 0-3 in he fourth set, Bublik tried something different, serving six underarm serves in one game, which he ended up winning after going to deuce four times.
It wasn’t all Bublik had as he threw down 25 aces and some big second serves, although the latter led to 13 double faults in the match.
Known as an entertainer with a bag of tricks similar to Kyrgios, not everyone was a fan of Bublik’s antics but the controversial Aussie tennis star was.
Kyrgios tweeted: “I love it, it’s different. But if it was me, I would be accused of tanking and get fined a minimum of 15 thousand pounds”.
Kyrgios was fined eight thousand pounds for his first round outburst against Brit Paul Jubb where he admitted to spitting towards a heckler.
After the Jubb match, Kyrgios, who has the underarm serve in his bag of tricks, said he was criticised for it, while former grand slam champion Andy Murray was praised for the act in the first round match against Aussie James Duckworth.
“I actually remember the first time I did it, was against Nadal in Acapulco,” Kyrgios said in the Jubb press conference.
“Actually watch it back. Everyone should just watch that back. The commentators were like, ‘What’s he done here? It’s so disrespectful. Why would he do that?’
“Now it’s like, ‘So smart. Andy Murray, so smart.’ I’m just like, What on earth? I’m playing Rafael Nadal for like three hours. I couldn’t win a point. I threw in one underarm serve. They say, ‘I don’t know if there’s a place in the game for that.’
“Everyone does it now. It’s like they’re a genius.”
However, Kyrgios was far from the only one to react, with Tiafoe himself saying Bublik was starting to get to him.
“I was fuming at one point,” Tiafoe said. “I was trying to keep it in. I think just getting that hold at 4-all was just so big. Hitting that ace down break point was massive.
“He wasn’t checked out. He was just trying to get me off my game, which he did. No one is checked out when they’re at Wimbledon.
“What he was doing was working, but obviously not good enough.”
For Tiafoe, he’s one of eight US players who had made it to the third round — the most since 1995 — while he is one of two already into the fourth round.
Fans were split on the tactic however.
Racquet Magazine’s Ben Rothenberg wrote: “Bublik just long-conned his way back on serve in the fourth. King of trolls.”
He also added: “Tiafoe survives the wildest of Bublik rides in the fourth set to advance. Sublime match, and often sublimely stupid.”
USA Today’s Dan Wolken tweeted: “Bublik is such a goofball. Ridiculous stuff after falling a break behind Tiafoe in the 4th.”