Australian Open: Kyrgios teases Djokovic doubles alliance as 'bromance' blossoms

By Sports Desk January 18, 2022

Nick Kyrgios threw in an underarm serve in the second game of his Australian Open campaign, before tossing in a curveball in the post-match news conference.

Speaking after his 6-4 6-4 6-3 win over an outmatched Liam Broady on John Cain Arena, Kyrgios proposed he might play doubles with Novak Djokovic in the future.

Australian Kyrgios has dramatically changed his tune on the Serbian, but not in the way many have altered their perspective following recent events.

Djokovic was deported from Australia in the hours before the Australian Open got under way, a consequence of his own failure to get a COVID-19 vaccine and seemingly mixed messages from authorities before a court settled the kerfuffle.

His behaviour in December after a positive COVID-19 test has been widely criticised, and the reputation of arguably the greatest tennis player of all time has taken a battering in the past fortnight.

Kyrgios recently observed the treatment of Djokovic, a nine-time champion of the Melbourne Park grand slam, had been "really bad" and said it was important to "do better" by the 20-time slam winner.

 

The 26-year-old from Canberra has emerged as an unlikely cheerleader for the player he described as "a tool" and "a very strange cat" last February, after Djokovic was reported to have requested improved quarantine accommodation on arriving in Australia.

Now Kyrgios is revelling in his apparent sudden popularity in Serbia, where Djokovic's banishment from Australia was greeted with anger and dismay.

"I mean, it's great," Kyrgios said of his new standing. He then turned his focus to why he has stood up for his new friend.

"Obviously me and Novak have had some, I guess, differences in the past. But whether it was Novak or someone else, I would have done the same thing," he said.

"I didn't do it because he was Serbian. If it was another player in that scenario, I would have stood up for what I think was right.

"I think it was just coincidentally it was Novak, and, you know, it was quite a story. But we've got a bit of a bromance going on now, so I'm not going to complain.

"I think I'm going to ask him to play doubles somewhere."

It remains to be seen where this might next prove possible. Djokovic might find he needs a vaccination to play the French Open and US Open this year, amid reports an increasing number of tournaments will insist on players being immunised as a condition of entry.

Kyrgios, meanwhile, faced a daunting second-round match in Melbourne, with title favourite and de facto top seed Daniil Medvedev awaiting him.

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    Singles champions at Wimbledon become honorary members of the club, but it turns out the membership card they are given is rather important, particularly when security insist on seeing it.

    Federer posted a picture of the Wimbledon trophy on social media on November 25, with the caption: "Nice to see you again."

    It turns out it was quite an effort to get into the grounds before he took that snap, with Federer telling Daily Show host Trevor Noah this week how much of an ordeal it proved to be.

    The 41-year-old said: "I have not really been at Wimbledon when the tournament is not on, so I drive up to the gate, where usually guests come in, where you would arrive and then you go up. I get out and tell my coach who was with me at the time, Severin, I tell him I'll quickly go out and speak to the security lady, I got this. I did not.

    "So then I get out and I'm like, 'Yes, hello, I was just wondering how I can get in to Wimbledon? Where is the door? Where is the gate?'. She [says], 'Do you have a membership card?'. I'm like, 'Uh, we have one?'."

    Doors usually open for Federer, a 20-time grand slam champion, but this one looked like being closed to him, despite his many past successes on the famous grass courts.

    He won at Wimbledon each year from 2003 to 2007, before adding titles in 2009, 2012 and 2017. Still, it helps to have a membership card to enter a members' club, as the security official made clear.

    Federer said: "I tell her normally when I'm here I'm playing and there's loads of people and I come in in a different way and it's the first time I'm here while the tournament's not on and I don't know where to get in so, 'I'm just asking you again, where can I get in?'.

    "She's like, 'Well at the side, but you have to be a member'. So I look at her one last time and I'm in a panic now."

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    "I'm so sorry, I still can't believe I said that, I still feel bad about it, and I look at her and I was like, 'I have won this tournament eight times. Please believe me, I am a member and where do I get in?'," he said.

    He moved along to seek a different way in, and this was where his luck turned.

    "I get out of the car and a random person walks in the walkway and said, 'Oh Mr Federer, I can't believe you're here at Wimbledon! Can we take a selfie?'," Federer said.

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    Although he was unable to play due to injury, Federer made a fleeting appearance at Wimbledon in 2022 at a line-up of champions to mark 100 years of Centre Court.

  • Pressure for Kyrgios 'a lot to handle' ahead of Australian Open Pressure for Kyrgios 'a lot to handle' ahead of Australian Open

    Nick Kyrgios admits the pressure he is facing is "a lot to handle", as he prepares for next month's Australian Open.

    Having started 2022 with a doubles title with Thanasi Kokkinakis at his home grand slam, Kyrgios then advanced to the final of Wimbledon and suffered defeat at the hands of Novak Djokovic.

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    "I know I'm content with myself. I want to achieve more for myself, but for all of my team, not for anyone else."

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    "I can travel around the world playing exhibitions around this time of year for six figures - you know I feel I put myself in that position - so it's an easy one for me.

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    Asked whether he could envisage himself playing in the Davis Cup again, he added: "Maybe, who knows?

    "Adding another week in Europe in Malaga wasn't really what was on my wish list. If it was in Australia, maybe it would have been a different story. But who knows?

    "It's not always easy for me to erase everything in Australia that's said negatively about me or my family, you don't need that - so it's interesting that they really want me to play, but are always criticising.

    "Look, I've always been one of the best players in the world - I’ve always held up my fair share of the bargain towards Australia. 

    "I feel like this is the first year I've earned respect when it should have been given when I first came on tour.

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