KUALA LUMPUR: As millions of tennis fans around the world train their attention to the epic match between Serbia's Novak Djokovic and Australia's Nick Kyrgios in the Wimbledon men's final tonight, many would be amused to learn of Malaysia's small role in one of the finalists.
Kyrgios, 27, long regarded as the enfant terrible of tennis, has a distinctly Malaysian heritage, courtesy of his mother Norlaila, fondly known as Nil.
Norlaila, who was raised in Gombak, Selangor, hails from the Pahang royal family. It is understood that her grandfather was the cousin to the late Sultan of Pahang.
Norlaila, who is a Tengku by birth, had migrated to Australia in her 20's and married George Kyrgios, a self-employed house painter.
Apart from Nick, the couple have two other children, Christos and Halimah.
Kyrgios, whose middle name is Hilmy, was raised in Canberra and since turning professional in 2012, has notched a string of successes, notably six ATP Tour singles titles.
However, his first appearance in the 2022 Wimbledon men's finals is arguably the high point of his career so far, with his first ever Grand Slam now a distinct possibility.
Kyrgios has only ever made a quarter final twice before, once at the Australian Open and the other at Wimbledon.
He was set to face Rafael Nadal before the Spaniard had to drop out due to injury, thus paving the way for Kyrgios to the final.
However, Kyrgios won't have his mother by the sidelines to cheer him on tonight.
Norlaila is currently at home in Canberra, awaiting a kidney transplant.
Kyrgios had, after his quarter-final win over Cristian Garin, told reporters that Norlaila's health was not at 100 per cent.
"Obviously my mum's health has been a bit rocky. It's been pretty bad for a while now. She's not able to kind of come to these (events) and she's not allowed to travel that much.
"Even the Australian Open, she won't come to my matches because she's got, like, a pacemaker and stuff, it's too stressful, and all that type of stuff. I try and talk to her. She'll wake up in the morning, say, 'I just saw the live scores. It looks like you had a tough match'," he said.
However, Kyrgios can rest assured that his family in Malaysia will be in his corner.
Channel News Asia quoted his cousin, Hafiz Amir Hamzah, as saying that the whole family would be "glued to the TV", rooting for him to lift the trophy.
Hafiz's late father and Kyrgios' mother are first cousins.
Hafiz had described Kyrgios as a younger brother, and said their families used to see each other more often during the holidays when they were much younger.
"I do message him sometimes. His mum always video calls us and if he is at home, he would say hi," said Mr Hafiz. Kyrgios would play tennis in Malaysia even when he was on holiday, he was quoted as saying.
Hafiz also believed that Kyrgios' fiery image as a tennis player and the person at home are two different people.
"I have known him all his life and he has always been the quiet one in the family. He is a kind-hearted person. People might be surprised. When my dad passed away a few months ago, he was very supportive of us," he told CNA.