Nick Kyrgios ‘so nervous’ by presence of Will Smith at Australian Open

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Will Smith reacts during the third round match between France's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Australia's Nick Kyrgios at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne. (AP)
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Smith is pumped after a point in the game between Tsonga and Kyrgios. (AP)
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Smith sits with other spectators during the men's singles match (AFP)
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Smith poses for a photo with some fans (AP)
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Smith films a TV camera filming him while he watches the third round match (AP)
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Smith is interviewed by former tennis player Jim Courier (AFP)
Updated 19 January 2018

Nick Kyrgios ‘so nervous’ by presence of Will Smith at Australian Open

MELBOURNE: Will Smith made his Grand Slam debut on Friday night, taking a seat at Rod Laver Arena for the electric third-round Australian Open match between local hope Nick Kyrgios and 2008 finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
The actor briefly met Tsonga before the players walked onto the court.
“Really a great guy. Really sweet. Love his energy,” Smith told former player Jim Courier in an interview aired on the Seven Network. “He has this little bow on his wrist, it looks like a power thing. I don’t know a lot about tennis but watching him I was like man, I think I might have to take this up a little bit. I’m happy being here watching these guys play.”
Smith has spent 10 days in Australia, taking a break before starting work on a movie.
“This is the first time at the Open — this is my first Slam,” said Smith, who planned to watch top-ranked Rafael Nadal on nearby Margaret Court Arena but decided to stick around on the main show court.
Kyrgios prevailed in a big-serving battle of wills against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, downing the Frenchman in four sets to progress to the round of 16 at the Australian Open.
In his scheduled post-match interview, Kyrgios was asked by Courier about the presence of Smith in the crowd.
“Honestly when I saw him out here I was so nervous,” Kyrgios said. “No joke. I was thinking ‘oh my god.’ People think that I’m cool but I wanted him to think I was the coolest man ever. I’ve got to tell him. I have Focus on my phone and I watch it every time I have a flight. Best movie ever ... it’s because of Margot Robbie by the way.”
Smith is the second Hollywood personality at the Australian Open this week. Will Ferrell appeared in the crowd over the first few days, doing an on-court interview with Roger Federer.

Underdogs with bite and sloppy South Korea: What we learned from the Asian Cup second round

Updated 23 January 2019

Underdogs with bite and sloppy South Korea: What we learned from the Asian Cup second round

  • Can the mighty minnows continue impressive run in the UAE?
  • Or will the big guns start to fire in quarterfinals?

LONDON: Asia’s biggest sporting spectacle has reached its quarterfinal stage — and it’s time for teams to find their A-game. While there are few surprises in the last-eight lineup, the form of some of the big-name sides has been less than impressive. Here we deliver our verdict on the second round.

BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT — Saudi Arabia’s attack

The Green Falcons started the tournament at top speed. They came in as one of the cup favorites and in their opening two matches illustrated why. A 4-0 thrashing of North Korea was backed up with a relatively simple 2-0 victory over Lebanon. Understandably, that raised hopes that Juan Antonio Pizzi’s men could go all the way in the UAE. Alas, it was not to be as a 2-0 defeat to Qatar in their last group clash left them with a tricky tie against Japan. For all their efforts Saudi Arabia were unable to find the back of the net, the lack of firepower upfront costing Pizzi’s team yet again.

BIGGEST SHOCK — South Korean sloppiness

Boosted by the arrival of Tottenham star Son Heung-Min, South Korea were rightly declared the pre-tournament favorites. They had firepower up front, intelligence and creativity in midfield, and experience at the back. In the four matches in the UAE so far, however, they have looked anything but potential champions. They labored to beat Kyrgyzstan, the Philippines and China in the group stage before almost being shocked by part-timers Bahrain in the second round. South Korea now face Qatar in the last eight and, as Son said after their extra-time win over Bahrain, they need to significantly improve if they are to avoid a shock exit before the semis.

UNDER PRESSURE — Alberto Zaccheroni and the UAE

The Whites owe their place in the last eight to luck more than skill. In some ways that is not a surprise — the hosts came into the tournament without their talisman, the injured Omar Abdulrahman, and on the back of a patchy run of form. But, still, the performances on home soil have been underwhelming to say the least. That was summed up with their extra-time win over Kyrgyzstan, who were playing in their first Asian Cup. It was a far-from-convincing performance and Central Asians were unlucky not to beat Zaccheroni’s side. The UAE will have to deliver their best performance for some time if they are to progress further. Their opponents, Australia, have also performed poorly, which may offer them some encouragement.

BEST HIGHLIGHT — The mighty minnows

The big guns have not had it all their own way. That may annoy their fans, but it does show that Asian football is improving. Only a few years ago the idea that Kyrgyzstan, Bahrain and Jordan would look the equals of Australia and Co. would have seemed fanciful. But in the past two weeks the standard shown by the so-called lesser lights has been impressive — and great to watch. Last summer five Asian teams appeared at the World Cup for the first time and it was hoped that showing would act as a springboard for further progress across the continent. On the evidence of the action in the UAE that wish could be coming true.