Nick Kyrgios takes fresh dig at Wimbledon after crowd help him to Gianluca Mager win

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Nick Kyrgios admitted the crowd coached him through it as he battled his way into the third round. The controversial Australian beat Italian Gianluca Mager 7-6, 6-4, 6-4 with a big serving display – and again slammed the Wimbledon courts.

But he said: “When the fans come to my matches now, they know how I am. I’m lighthearted. They know it’s a bit of a show.

“They just want entertainment – like a couple screaming out asking questions about Tottenham Hotspur. It’s crazy out there.

“I have people in the front row literally coaching me, literally telling me, ‘That’s all right, good ball, great return, it will work next time, good depth.’ I’m like, Dude, what is going on out here? It’s good.

“These are some of the best grass courts in the world. Let’s just make that clear. But every single player would agree that they’ve slowed down the grass.

“It’s not playing like it should be playing. They’ve completely slowed down the court.”

Kyrgios will take on Canada’s Felix Auger Aliassime, the 16th seed, in the third round on Saturday after seeing off Mager in straight sets.

Elsewhere, Andy Murray will be back in BBC prime time on Friday night in the latest episode of his Wimbledon late-night drama.

New British No 1 Dan Evans will share the stage as two home male singles players will play on the same day on Centre Court for the first time since Tim Henman and Greg Rusedski in 2001.

Yet Murray is still the main man. Even Murray’s opponent this evening Denis Shapovalov reckoned the Scot played like the “old Andy” in his second classic win of the week on Wednesday night.

And the TV numbers from Murray’s opening two matches victories prove he is still a ratings winner. During the deciding fifth set against German Oscar Otte, viewership peaked at 6.75m – a 45 per cent share of the TV audience.

And BBC’s Wimbledon coverage over the first three days has attracted nearly double the number from 2019 when the Olympic champion was not in the singles.

Murray, at the age of 34 with a metal hip, remains box office. And although his matches do not feature as many costume changes as Bridgerton, there are probably more, and even more unbelievable, plot twists.

“That’s one of the reasons why I’m still playing is because of moments like that,” Murray smiled after his crazy Otte win.

“Like, why would you want to give that up? The atmosphere, it was good the whole match, but especially the last hour and a half was, brilliant. I still enjoy that.”

Seeking more energy after falling two sets to one down, he even took audience participation to new heights.

“I hope the fans like it and don’t think that it’s a bit weird that I’m sort of staring at them and screaming at them for like an hour, but they seem to enjoy it, as well,” Murray laughed.

Even his Canadian opponent for Friday night enjoyed the show. The dashing Denis Shapovalov is the No 10 seed and would usually be the star attraction against the world No 118.

But before his first appearance on Centre Court, the 22-year-old left-hander said: “I definitely watched his match yesterday. And honestly just as a tennis fan and a fan of Andy’s, it was fun to watch.

“It felt like he was the player that he was a couple years back. Watching the last couple of sets yesterday, it looked like the old Andy out there.”

But the last time Murray played a Canadian at a Grand Slam she showed his age as Auger Aliassime won in three brutal sets at last September’s US Open.

And world No 12 Shapovalov, who is 12 years younger than the Scot, is the logical favourite to end Murray’s run.

The Canadian had a walkover on Wednesday while the Scot spent nearly four hours on court. “I’m hoping to have a long match and a long battle,” he said. “Physically I feel great. I’m definitely ready.”

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