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Kyrgios out but not down

By Pritha Sarkar

LONDON (Reuters) - The adrenaline rush of slaying Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon was replaced by dejection and despondency only 24 hours later but Australian tyro Nick Kyrgios should take plenty of heart from what he described as the "best couple of weeks of my life".

The 19-year-old who survived nine match points against Richard Gasquet in the third round, then sent world number one Nadal spinning out of the tournament on Tuesday, finally met his match in Milos Raonic on Wednesday.

While missing out on a semi-final date with seven-times Wimbledon champion Roger Federer must hurt, Kyrgios could draw some inspiration from his hero's path to greatness.

Thirteen years ago a pony-tailed Federer burst onto the big stage when he ended Pete Sampras's charge towards an eighth All England Club title in a five-set thriller in the fourth round.

One round later, the then 19-year-old Swiss had nothing left to give and went out with a whimper.

It took two more years for Federer to finally crack the grand slam riddle but from then on, he has had no equal.

Unlike Federer, who was seeded 15th at the 2001 championships, Kyrgios has turned the tennis world on its head while ranked 144th.

"It's been the best couple of weeks of my life. Never did I think that I was ever going to make quarter-finals of Wimbledon and beat Nadal on Center Court. It's all happened pretty fast," said the Australian wildcard.

"I woke up this morning and it had sunk in. It was such a great achievement.

"That's something that no one can take away from me. I'm always going to have that now.

"It's been a special week for me. At the same time, it's been so exhausting. I got nothing left to give."

The teenager who spent the first week of the championships easily blending in with the thousands of fans milling around the vast grounds of the All England Club, found himself turning heads when he rocked up for his quarter-final with Raonic.

But the golden arm that fired 37 aces against Nadal on Tuesday, had, unsurprisingly, turned into dead wood 24 hours later.

It was not just Kyrgios who was disappointed with the unhappy ending to his remarkable Wimbledon adventure.

"Clearly I'd like to play against him, too," the 32-year-old Federer said. 

"He came to Switzerland to practice with me the week before Rome (in May).  We had a great time together. Had good intensity. I already thought he was playing unbelievably at the Australian Open.

"It was nice to see how he works and how he plays in the practice. He's going to rise up the rankings. It would've been cool playing here in the semis with the ranking he has. It's an amazing story."

(Reporting by Pritha Sarkar, editing by Alan Baldwin)

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