Nick Kyrgios has saved this Wimbledon and now he could win it - Aidan Smith

No Sir Roger of Federer, the prince of Centre Court in his monogrammed walk-on suit, swishing his racket for swoonsome adoration.

No Russians because of the war in Ukraine so no Daniil Medvedev, the world No1. No Matteo Berrettini, Italian stallion and the coming man but downed by Covid just as the tournament began. What kind of Wimbledon was this going to be?

Then, just 48 hours in, no more Serena Williams, still striving at 40 for a record-equalling 24th Slam, but forced to chase a hundred drop shots, which just seemed sadistic.

The following day, almost as short-lived a stay for Andy Murray who we’d all hoped was set fair for a week at least of rollercoastering tennis, crunching that big lever through hope, despair, anguish and enough triumph to encourage him to keep coming back and, for us, delaying the day when, as the old song goes, the carnival is over.

Nick Kyrgios takes a break during practice to contemplate the Slam showpiece he thought was beyond him.

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Then - what next, for goodness sake? - if you’d told me at this glum moment that, with the championships two big dogs down already, a third would cry off before his semi-final, and not forgetting the fact there were no ranking points on offer anyway, I probably wouldn’t have been thinking that the men’s final two weeks hence could possibly rate all that high on the intrigue scale.

Certainly not this highly. Novak Djokovic versus Nick Kyrgios? Well, that’s never going to happen, many would have said back at the start. Djokovic, yes, he’ll almost certainly reach the final, gunning for GOAT. But the human Catherine wheel? No way. Kyrgios will sparkle and fizz for a bit in the early rounds and then go phut. A few tweeners, a couple of underarm serves, then a rant and a blow-out. That’s the way the Slams pan out for him.

Not this year, though. We’ll never know if Kyrgios would have beaten Nadal in what the outrageous Aussie predicted would be “the most-watched tennis match of all time”. But that doesn’t matter now. He’s in the final. And can’t believe it either.

So if Kyrgios/Nadal was going to be the biggest-ever draw, where might Kyrgios/Djokovic rate? Surely bigger. Sunday will be no Knots Landing, a watered-down version of Dallas, and I make the comparison with soap-opera melodrama deliberately. Djokovic was possibly a bit miffed when Kyrgios hyped up a clash with Nadal based on that pair’s previous. He might have muttered to himself: “But Nick, we’ve got previous. Remember when you called me boneheaded?”

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No real surprise to see Novak Djokovic in the men's final, going for his fourth Wimbledon title in a row.

Kyrgios has got previous with many players. But many like him, rate him and wonder why his natural, nonchalant, lethal talent hasn’t brought him a big title. Andy Murray for one predicted in 2016, after beating Kyrgios en route to his second Wimbledon, that he would win a Slam one day.

Perhaps the day has arrived. The last thing this tournament has been is low-key. Full of surprises, it could be about to throw up the one to really knock our socks off. Wimbledon valiantly continues the tradition of starched white hosiery. Kyrgios gleefully assumes the role of the misplaced rogue which mucks up the wash but, if his mood is good, the man can entertain and thrill. If there’s one thing these championships have lacked it’s a classic match. This could be it.

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