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Nick Kyrgios: The 19-year-old Wimbledon sensation tipped for the top

Nick Kyrgios produced one of the greatest upsets in Wimbledon history when he beat Rafael Nadal today. Photo: PA Wire

Nick Kyrgios produced one of the greatest shocks in Wimbledon history when he beat world number one Rafael Nadal today - but who is the 19-year-old Australian?

Raised in Canberra by his Greek-Australian father and a Malaysian mother, Kyrgios began playing tennis at the age of six.

But he could have chosen a very different sporting path had he opted to play basketball professionally instead.

Australia's Nick Kyrgios celebrates defeating Spain's Rafael Nadal. Credit: PA Wire

Kyrios admitted the decision was one of the "toughest" he has ever made.

“It was probably the toughest decision I had to make, but my family was pretty keen on me taking up tennis.

“I love to play sports a lot so it was an easy transition to fully concentrate on tennis. It’s a choice I’m not regretting.”

Kyrgios caused a huge upset on Centre Court. Credit: PA Wire

Blessed with a fierce serve and a strong forehand, the Australian likens his game to that of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. He produced one of the shots of the tournament so far against Nadal, when he instinctively flicked his racquet between his legs to hit a baseline winner.

His talent has seen him become just one of 15 players - which includes Nadal and Novak Djokovic - to win their maiden ATP title by the age of 18.

His Australian Open Boys' title victory in 2013 propelled him into the Australian limelight and he, along with friend and fellow tennis star Thanasi Kokkinakis, are regarded as some of the country's brightest sporting hopes.

Nick Kyrgios has been tipped for the top by analysts. Credit: PA Wire

Kyrgios has since soared in the world rankings and is only playing in the main draw of a grand slam tournament for the fifth time.

The 6'4" Australian's rapid rise has made quite an impression on the circuit, and he was invited to a training week in Zurich by his idol Roger Federer - who he could face in the semi-finals - earlier this year.

And after his performance against Nadal, the 19-year-old has won plenty more admirers.

Nadal congratulates the teenager on his win. Credit: PA Wire

Among them is three-time Wimbledon champion John McEnroe says the 19-year-old could emulate Boris Becker by winning the tournament as a teenager.

"I think we have found the next guy in the men's game. I couldn't believe he could keep that up all match," McEnroe told the BBC.

"He had this feeling about him that he absolutely believed that he would win. He is acting to me like he can win the whole tournament. The last guy I saw like that was Boris Becker, a teenager who just believed he would beat everything that was put in his way."

John McEnroe has tipped Nick Kyrgios for the top. Credit: PA Wire

But Kyrgios is not getting carried away despite McEnroe's praise.

"You know, I'm just going to stay grounded," he said after his famous win.

"I'm just going to go home tonight and do everything possible for my next round tomorrow. Milos (Raonic) has probably got the best serve in the world. I'm just going to go out there and have fun again."

The teenager seemed to still be in a state of shock hours after, posting a message on Twitter which read:

After the stunning victory, his decision to choose tennis over basketball appears to have been vindicated.

Nick Kyrgios has progressed into the quarter-finals of Wimbledon. Credit: PA Wire

Kyrios' victory in numbers:

  • 3 - Kyrgios is only the third Australian to beat Nadal, after Chris Guccione and Lleyton Hewitt
  • 19 - He is the youngest player to reach the last eight since fellow Australian Bernard Tomic in 2011
  • 37 - Kyrios smashed 37 aces beyond Nadal, increasing his tournament tally to 113
  • 133 - His fastest serve registered at 133 mph
  • 144 - The Australian is the lowest-ranked player Nadal has ever lost to at a grand slam
  • 1990 - He is the first player born in the 1990s to beat Nadal
  • 2004 - Kyrios is the first man to reach the quarter finals on his Wimbledon debut since German Florian Mayer in 2004
  • 2005 - He is the first teenager to beat a world number one at a grand slam since Nadal beat Federer at the 2005 French Open

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