It was a match that was full of strange distractions but Nick Kyrgios did not let them get to him.
A composed Kyrgios showed his growing maturity in beating a hot headed Viktor Troicki 7-5 6-4 7-6 in the second round of the 2018 Australian Open.
Kyrgios, 22, admits the succession of weird distractions might have led to a different outcome for him in past years.
“I think last year, the year before, I probably would have been probably still out on the court right now, could be losing that match,” Kyrgios said.
“There were a lot of distractions going out there today.”
For starters, Kyrgios had to withstand an early onslaught from Troicki, who came to play.
Troicki, a 31 year old from Serbia, was moving around the court smoothly, hitting winners and serving with a similar ferocity to Kyrgios.
In the first set, Troicki had four more winners than the hometown favourite, but Kyrgios executed his biggest strength better, his lethal first serve.
Kyrgios was a perfect 100% on first serve points in the first set, winning 21 of 21. He also had nine aces.
It wore down Troicki, who had no answer to his power and precision on serve and the veteran showed his frustration by smacking a ball on top of the roof at Hisense Arena in anger and having verbal confrontations with both the chair umpire and a heckler in the crowd.
From there, Kyrgios took over and started to dictate the rallies, pulling off some incredible winners.
It was a super performance from Kyrgios all round.
“I served well, thought I returned pretty good, hit my forehand well, hit my backhand well,” Kyrgios said.
“I’m still not playing as well as I would like to be at the moment, but I’m getting through, which is good.”
It was Kyrgios’s ability to stay mentally strong in the face of a number of distractions that would be his greatest asset in this match.
The first annoyance was a heckler in the crowd, who stood up behind Kyrgios and screamed at the top of his lungs while filming it before he was ushered away by security guards.
Then a helicopter hovered overhead for about five minutes, not giving the players a chance to hear the ball off the racquet.
If that was not enough, the Hisense Arena sound system became muffled, whipping the crowd into a frenzy each time the chair umpire spoke into the microphone.
With all of those distractions, you could have forgiven Kyrgios for losing his cool, but he soldiered on for a fine victory.
“Obviously it’s pretty easy to think, why me?” Kyrgios said.
“The guy in the crowd was crazy, I didn’t really know what was going on.
“The helicopter, that’s when I was thinking like, of course, it’s at my match. It’s just hovering there. Of course, it is. But that actually made it tough. It was tough to return. Hearing the ball actually come off the racquets is a pretty big thing. I missed four returns. I’m just going to blame it on the helicopter.
“With the microphone, the whole atmosphere changed. I kind of lost my rhythm a little bit.
“I thought I dealt with everything pretty well.”
Kyrgios will face Frenchman Jo-Wilfred Tsonga in a third round blockbuster on Friday.
Kyrgios idolised Tsonga when he was growing up and is looking forward to facing him in the heat of battle again.
“Obviously a guy I looked up to growing up,” Kyrgios said.
“I’ve seen him play a lot, I know what he’s going to bring, he knows what I’m going to bring. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”