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.

Nick Kyrgios compared the crowd during his Australian Open first-round win to a zoo as fans copied a famous Cristiano Ronaldo celebration at almost every point.

Cries of 'siuu' could be heard throughout much of the home favourite's straight-sets victory over Liam Broady, his first match since a Laver Cup defeat to Stefanos Tsitsipas in September.

The shouts were apparently mimicking Manchester United star Cristiano Ronaldo's famous goal celebration.

There were similar incidents during Andy Murray's battling five-set win over Nikoloz Basilashvili, as the five-time finalist won his first match at the Melbourne major since 2017.

The raucous crowds caused confusion as many observers wondered if Murray and Kyrgios were being booed on court, despite each player also enjoying huge support.

Kyrgios later explained he was not surprised to hear the noise from the stands but was taken aback by how long they persisted.

"It's just a stupid, f***, I can't believe they did it so much," he said after his 6-4 6-4 6-3 victory on John Cain Arena. "They were doing some Ronaldo thing. Ronaldo does it every time he scores.

"It's like... I thought they were going to do it for like 10 minutes. They did it for two and a half hours, like, every point. I don't know why. It was a zoo out there."

Murray had wondered if the crowd was turning on him during his epic 6-1 3-6 6-4 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 victory because he had been targeted during his practice session on Monday.

"Initially, I thought it was [booing] because there were some people booing during my practice yesterday," he said. "I have no idea what for! 

"But then, after a few times, it was like, no, they're doing that, I think it's like 'Siuu' or something that Ronaldo does when he scores. And, yeah, it was incredibly irritating!"

Kyrgios produced some superb if often unorthodox tennis as he booked a second-round clash with world number two Daniil Medvedev, who is the highest-ranked male in the draw following the refusal to allow Novak Djokovic to compete.

The 26-year-old would like to return to John Cain to aid his chances of improving his record against the Russian to 3-0.

"It's going to be a hell of an experience for me," he said. "He's probably 'the' best player in the world at the moment. So I'm pretty excited, I'm excited for that moment. That's why I play the game.

"I feel like those matches still excite me, to go out there and play the best in the world. That was always something I wanted to prove to people that someone like me could do, win those matches.

"I'm not going to go into it with a lot of expectation. I'm going to go out there, have some fun, play my game. I have a pretty set-in-stone game plan of what I need to do to have success.

"As I said, he's probably the best player in the world, he does everything extremely well. He's a hard worker, ticks all the boxes. I'm not going to even think about that now. To play it on John Cain would be – I'm just going to call it the Kyrgios Court – would be fun."

Nick Kyrgios pulled out of the Sydney Tennis Classic due to testing positive for coronavirus shortly before he was due to face Italy's Fabio Fognini.

The Australian had been one of the tournament's major draws as the home favourite but now cannot compete and that has subsequently thrown his Australian Open participation into question.

Fognini took full advantage of the situation as he saw off lucky loser Daniel Altmaier 6-3 7-5 to move into the second round.

There he will be joined by – among others – David Goffin, with the Belgian winning a game for the first time in eight months as he beat Facundo Bagnis 6-4 6-4 after an injury-ravaged 2021.

Fifth-seed Lorenzo Sonego was the highest seed in action and he was made to work hard for his 3-6 6-3 7-5 win over Hugo Gaston, needing almost two hours and 45 minutes to get the job done.

The day's other game saw Jordan Thompson win on home soil, beating Marcos Giron fairly comfortably 6-4 6-2.

At the Adelaide International 2, Tommy Paul came out on top in the battle of the Americans as he cruised to an impressive 6-2 6-3 win over Frances Tiafoe in just 69 minutes.

Local boy Aleksandar Vukic clinched the biggest scalp of his professional career as the world number 156 – a wild card entry for the tournament – beat Alexander Bublik 7-6 (7-5) 6-2.

Arthur Rinderknech and Jaume Munar also progressed, the latter defeating Australia's John Millman.

Nick Kyrgios is a doubt to take part at the Australian Open after testing positive for COVID-19.

The Australian star withdrew from the Sydney Tennis Classic hours before he was due to face Fabio Fognini.

The 26-year-old had already pulled out of the Melbourne Summer Set last week after struggling with an unknown illness that affected his asthma.

He was tested for coronavirus but all had come back negative until Monday.

With the first grand slam of 2022 just one week away, Kyrgios hopes he will recover in time to enter the draw.

"Hey everyone, I just want to be open and transparent with everyone, the reason I have had to pull out of Sydney is because I tested positive for Covid," he wrote on Instagram.

"I am feeling healthy at the moment with no symptoms. I wish everyone all the best and to stay safe where you can.

"If all goes well I will see you all at the Australian Open."

Kyrgios has not played a singles match since losing to Stefanos Tsitsipas at the Laver Cup last September and has dropped to 114 in the world rankings.

The former world number 13, who lost a thrilling five-set match with Dominic Thiem in the round of 32 in Melbourne last year, has only once gone as far as the quarter-finals at his home grand slam.

He reached the last eight in 2015, where he lost in straight sets to beaten finalist Andy Murray.

Novak Djokovic will be "p***ed off" and more determined than ever to win the Australian Open if he is freed from detention on Monday, according to Nick Kyrgios.

The nine-time champion at Melbourne Park had his visa revoked when he arrived in Australia this week, with Border Force officials determining he had "failed to provide appropriate evidence to meet the entry requirements".

He secured an injunction to avoid immediate deportation on Thursday and is spending the weekend at the Park Hotel, also home to refugees and asylum seekers, before his case is heard in court on Monday.

His lawyers have filed a detailed response and called for Djokovic to be liberated, also revealing the 34-year-old Serbian tested positive for COVID-19 on December 16 and has made a full recovery.

Djokovic has a startling 82-8 win-loss career record at the Australian Open and has earned $21,775,855 (US dollars) for his endeavours at the first grand slam of the tennis season.

Should he be cleared to play this time, and successfully defend his title, it would make him the outright leader for men's grand slam titles with 21, nudging him ahead of Rafael Nadal, who is also set to compete, and Roger Federer, who is absent.

Kyrgios has been a fierce critic of Djokovic in the past, but the Australian firebrand this week said the handling of the Belgrade superstar's case had been "really bad" and those taking satisfaction from his situation should "do better".

Having aired those views on social media, Kyrgios expanded on his thoughts in a news conference on Saturday, saying: "For the sport, we need him here.

"I'm feeling for him now, it's not really humane what’s going on. If he's allowed to play the Australian Open, I don't want any bar of him. I reckon he's going to be p***ed off.

"He's going to be very determined to play well and stick it to everyone. And I don't want any bar of that Novak."

 

Kyrgios claimed media coverage of his comments about Djokovic has "divided us", stating his past remarks have been "blown out of proportion".

In January 2021, Kyrgios described Djokovic as "a tool" after reports he was seeking privileged quarantine restrictions ahead of last year's Australian Open.

Speaking to the No Challenges Remain podcast in 2019, Kyrgios said of Djokovic: "I just feel like he has a sick obsession with wanting to be liked. He just wants to be like Roger [Federer]."

There has been obvious animosity in the past, but this time around Kyrgios is siding with Djokovic. He wants there to be a greater respect shown by Australia towards the world number one.

"I feel he's helped us as well. Like during the bushfires, he was supportive, he was helping us out," Kyrgios said.

"I feel like I could use this as a publicity stunt. I could just agree with the general person and say, 'Yeah, this isn't good', and use it. But I don't think that's right."

Nick Kyrgios has labelled the reaction to and handling of Novak Djokovic's predicament as "really bad".

Djokovic faces deportation from Australia after having had his visa application cancelled.

The world number one has not revealed his vaccination status against COVID-19, but was set to compete at the Australian Open under a medical exemption.

That decision called uproar in Australia, which has been under strict lockdown restrictions for much of the pandemic.

However, Djokovic was denied entry into Australia upon his arrival at Melbourne airport, with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison saying the 20-time grand slam champion would be on "the next plane home" if he failed to produce a sufficient reason for his medical exemption.

Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley insisted that the 20-time major champion had not been given a "special favour" to play in the tournament, though the decision faced immediate and widespread backlash.

Djokovic is currently hauled up in a hotel after an interim injunction hearing was pushed back to Monday at 10am local time, with Federal Circuit Court Judge Anthony Kelly ruling that the Serbian could not be deported until at least 4pm on Monday, local time.

Several of Djokovic's fellow players, including Rafael Nadal, have criticised the 34-year-old's stance and the decision to initially allow him to compete.

Yet Kyrgios, who has never seen eye to eye with Djokovic, has not joined those critics, and instead hit out at how Australia, and the media, have handled the situation.

"Look I definitely believe in taking action, I got vaccinated because of others and for my mum's health, but how we are handling Novak’s situation is bad, really bad," Kyrgios tweeted on Friday.

"Like these memes, headlines, this is one of our great champions but at the end of the day, he is human. Do better."

Kyrgios said in November that he believed the Australian Open should be cancelled if it was mandated that competitors would have to be vaccinated.

 "I don't think the Aus Open should go ahead, just for the people in Melbourne – you’ve got to send a message," Kyrgios said on his 'No Boundaries' podcast at the time.

Nick Kyrgios believes the Australian Open should be cancelled as he threw his support behind rival Novak Djokovic, insisting the COVID-19 vaccine mandate is "morally wrong".

It remains to be seen whether world number one Djokovic will defend his Australian Open title in Melbourne in January due to vaccination requirements.

The state of Victoria, where the year's opening grand slam takes place at Melbourne Park, has introduced a vaccine mandate for professional athletes and across most industries amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The 2021 Australian Open went ahead, albeit in February instead of January, and without fans for most of the tournament following a snap lockdown of Melbourne due to COVID-19.

Djokovic was among the players critical of the conditions athletes endured prior to this year's Australian Open, with strict quarantine measures introduced.

Kyrgios and Djokovic have clashed in the past, but the former backed the nine-time Australian Open champion as he called for the upcoming grand slam to be scrapped.

"I don't think the Aus Open should go ahead, just for the people in Melbourne – you’ve got to send a message," Australian former world number 13 Kyrgios said on his 'No Boundaries' podcast.

"How long did [Melbourne] do in lockdown? 275 days or something?"

Kyrgios also referenced Brooklyn Nets star and NBA champion Kyrie Irving, who is yet to feature this season due to his refusal to be vaccinated against coronavirus, which is preventing him from practicing or playing – New York has a mandate in place that states players must have had a COVID-19 jab.

Kyrgios – an Australian Open quarter-finalist in 2015 – added: "Kyrie, Novak … These guys have given so much, sacrificed so much. They are global athletes who millions of people look up to.

"I just think it is so morally wrong to force someone to be vaccinated.

"I'm double vaccinated, but I just don't think it's right to force anyone [to be vaccinated] and say 'you can't come and play here because you're not vaccinated'.

"There are other solutions around it, [such as] to get tested every day. In the [United] States I know they've got rapid tests, and it's coming to Australia. It's 85 per cent success rate, you wait 15 minutes and then you're allowed to play."

Victorian sports minister Martin Pakula hit back on Tuesday, telling reporters: "I really like Nick Kyrgios and I cheer for him every time he plays and I certainly don't want to have beef with Nick Kyrgios but I actually couldn't follow the logic of his comments. We've had a long lockdown so the Australian Open shouldn't proceed? I'm not sure I follow that.

"I think the opposite applies. Melburnians, Victorians and, frankly all Australians, are absolutely gagging for major events. Our economy needs it, our state psyche needs it. It's a global grand slam, it's going to go ahead."

Team Europe are poised to seal yet more Laver Cup glory after producing another dominant display against Team World, though the focus was on Nick Kyrgios following comments about his long-term future.

Europe swept Saturday's four matches in Boston to stand on the cusp of a fourth consecutive Laver Cup triumph – the defending champions lead 11-1 and require just two more points to clinch the title.

Stefanos Tsitsipas blitzed Team World's Kyrgios 6-3 6-4 at TD Garden, where Olympic Games gold medallist Alexander Zverev beat John Isner 7-6 (7-5) 6-7 (6-8) 10-5 before US Open champion Daniil Medvedev made light work of Denis Shapovalov 6-4 6-0.

Team Europe secured their fourth win of the day in the doubles – Tsitsipas and Andrey Rublev teaming up to defeat Isner and Kyrgios 6-7 (8-10) 6-3 10-4.

After Kyrgios' straight-sets loss to Greece's Tsitsipas, the 26-year-old Australian star casted doubt over his tennis future.

"This is my probably my last Laver Cup," former world number 13 Kyrgios – an Australian Open and Wimbledon quarter-finalist – told reporters post-match. "I don't know how much longer I will be in tennis.

"This is my last event of the year. I will get my body right ahead of the Australian Open.

"My mum is not doing too well with her health. I'd like to go back and see her."

"As long as I'm on the court, I will try and give my best, but I'm not going to lie and say that I'm going to plan to play four or five more years on tour," Kyrgios said. "That's just not me."

Playing for the first time since earning his maiden grand slam trophy at the expense of record-chasing Novak Djokovic at Flushing Meadows, world number two Medvedev suffered no letdown against Shapovalov.

"I played unbelievably, especially [in] the second set," Russia's Medvedev said in his on-court interview. "I didn't know what to expect because after the US Open, I didn't play for a week and a half. Came here, practised as much as I could the past three days, so I didn't hit [that] many balls, but was surprisingly feeling well.

"I wanted to show that also today. [The] first [set] was not easy, the ball was not going as fast as I wanted [and] he was playing really good. And then I just couldn't miss a ball anymore. I'm really happy about [that]."

Andy Murray was left in "the strangest situation" he has experienced before a tour match at the Winston-Salem Open following Nick Kyrgios' withdrawal.

Murray had been due to face Kyrgios in an enticing first-round clash in North Carolina, only for the Australian to pull out due to a knee issue.

Former world number one Murray was then drawn against a lucky loser from qualifying, which had only been completed shortly before Murray was due to go on court on Sunday.

The tight turnaround prompted Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Max Purcell to decline the chance to take on Murray, while another option, Yosuke Watanuki, ended up with a direct path to the main draw.

Home hope Noah Rubin, who played his college tennis at the same venue having competed for Wake Forest University, stepped in shortly after his qualifying defeat to Lucas Pouille.

Despite Rubin's best efforts, the challenge proved too much for him as Murray swept to a 6-2 6-0 win, capping a bizarre evening for the three-time grand slam champion.

"It is, by far, the strangest situation I've ever been in before a match on tour," said Murray. "It's pretty rare that you experience something new when you're 17 years into your career.

"I sort of knew at 6:15 that Nick wasn't going to play, but the qualifying was still going on. I was told that if I played a lucky loser, I would play this evening, but if I played against a qualifier the match would be suspended until tomorrow [Monday].

"Then I was told that I drew a lucky loser and I was going to be playing this evening against Pierre-Hugues Herbert, that was like 15-20 minutes after the last qualifying match finished, then Herbert decided he didn't want to play.

"Then they went down the list and none of them, Purcell and Watanuki, they didn't want to play either. And Rubin, who had obviously just finished playing 20 minutes beforehand said, 'yeah I'll do it. I'll play'.

"I kind of had like three opponents in the space of 45 minutes, I was warming up for the match to start at seven and then stopped and then prepared to play Herbert then he didn't want to play then Noah obviously decided but he'd just finished so it was a break and it was just very, very odd sort of 45 minutes, an hour before we went on."

Murray is due to face 13th seed Frances Tiafoe in the second round.

Nick Kyrgios, John Isner and Reilly Opelka have been named by Team World captain John McEnroe as his final three picks for the Laver Cup.

The trio join Denis Shapovalov, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Diego Schwartzman for the team event which runs from September 24-26 at TD Garden in Boston.

Laver Cup newcomer Opelka rose to a career-high world number 23 ranking en route to his first ATP Masters 1000 final in Toronto and defeated world number three Stefanos Tsitsipas, who will play for Bjorn Borg's Team Europe.

Isner, who has featured for Team World since the inaugural event in 2017, reached the semi-finals in Toronto and claimed his 16th ATP Tour title in Atlanta at the start of August.

He described the Laver Cup as "a highlight of my year", adding: "To be on a team with guys we're normally competing against is so different and so much fun. We come together so well as a group, the chemistry is awesome and it's such a great environment to be part of."

Australian firebrand Kyrgios is a striking inclusion in Team World's roster, while Team Europe will be without their big three: Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.

Federer and Dominic Thiem were expected to take part in this year's event, though both were forced to withdraw with injuries.

However, Borg's men still boast six of the world's top 11. World number two Daniil Medvedev leads the line-up, with Tsitsipas and Tokyo Olympics gold medallist Alexander Zverev for company.

Casper Ruud, who collected a 14th win in his last 15 completed matches on tour when he beat Opelka on Wednesday, will feature, while Andrey Rublev and Wimbledon finalist Matteo Berrettini complete the six-man team.

Team Europe have landed the title in each of the three editions of the tournament so far, with Prague, Chicago and Geneva having served as hosts.

Cameron Norrie breezed past Nick Kyrgios and John Isner downed countryman Jack Sock to advance to the quarter-finals at the Atlanta Open on Thursday. 

The third-seeded Norrie defeated Kyrgios 6-1 6-4 in less than an hour as he tries for a second consecutive title after collecting his first ATP Tour championship at Los Cabos last week. 

The former University of Georgia star Isner, a five-time champion in Atlanta, beat Sock 7-6 (8-6) 6-4 despite serving only 13 aces after hitting 36 in his previous match. 

Second-seeded Jannik Sinner fell 7-6 (9-7) 6-4 to Australian qualifier Christopher O'Connell, leaving the tournament without its top two seeds after Milos Raonic was upset by Brandon Nakashima on Wednesday. 

O'Connell, ranked 132 in the world to Sinner's 23, had not won a main-draw match this year before defeating Denis Kudla in the opening round and will now face Isner in the quarters.

Norrie will meet Emil Ruusuvuori, who advanced when Benoit Paire retired down 3-0 in the third set after the pair had split the first two sets 4-6 6-4. 

Ruusuvuori is into his second career ATP quarter-final after making it to the semis at Nur-Sultan last year. 

Sixth seed John Isner sent down an Atlanta Open joint record 36 aces as he overcame countryman Jeffrey John Wolf in three sets on Tuesday.

World number 35 Isner was dominant on his first serve, winning 6-4 6-7 (3-7) 6-4 to claim a spot in the second round where he will face Jack Sock who beat Ricardas Berankis in three.

Isner's 36 aces equaled the previous Atlanta Open record set by Sam Querrey on Monday in his three-set win over Peter Gojowczyk.

American fifth seed Taylor Fritz also progressed on Tuesday with a 6-3 6-4 victory over Russian Evgeny Donskoy.

French seventh seed Benoit Paire got past Japan's Yasutaka Uchiyama 7-5 6-7 (2-7) 6-4, while enigmatic Australian Nick Kyrgios beat South African Kevin Anderson 7-6 (7-4) 6-3.

Teenage American talent Brandon Nakashima knocked out Trent Bryde, while Australian Chris O'Connell beat Denis Kudla and Finland's Emil Ruusuvuori got past Mackenzie McDonald 7-6 (7-3) 7-5.

Nakashima, who got a special exemption entry into the Atlanta Open, next takes on top seed Milos Raonic.

Wimbledon crowd favourite Nick Kyrgios retired hurt in his third-round match against Felix Auger-Aliassime on Saturday, hailing his opponent as a "hell of a player".

Kyrgios made headlines in the week with complaints over the condition of the grass courts at the All England Club, though the divisive Australian had looked sharp in wins over Ugo Humbert and Gianluca Mager.

He carried that form into his second career meeting with Canada's Auger-Aliassime, but as he charged to a 6-2 lead in the first set, Kyrgios sustained an apparent abdominal injury.

The 26-year-old received treatment on court, yet was clearly in distress as he attempted to continue, with Auger-Aliassime capitalising to take the second set 6-1 in just 22 minutes.

It signalled the end of the road for Kyrgios, who handed the win to the world number 19.

Despite his withdrawal, Kyrgios remained in good spirits.

Explaining his decision, Kyrgios said: "I haven't played this level of tennis in a long time, and obviously playing someone as good as Felix, my main weapon – my serve – to be firing on all cylinders and I just felt my abs, definitely did something in the first set.

"That's the way it goes. He's a hell of a player, he's going to do special things in this sport. Playing out here, having this support, has made me have a second wind. I reckon I'm going to come back and play for a bit longer.

"I did all I could to get here. I beat a heck of a player in the first round, played a great second round and just to get out here again, two sets, tried to play as long as I could, sorry I couldn't give you more today. But you'll see a lot of [Auger-Aliassime] in the future, and he's better looking too!"

For his part, Auger-Aliassime was equally as frustrated not to be able to see out what promised to be an entertaining match up.

"First of all, sorry for Nick, he was playing so good in the first set. It's really unfortunate in front of a packed crowd," he said.

"I think there were big expectations for this match, we were hoping to put on a good show, entertain the crowd, so it's unfortunate he had to retire. I hope it’s nothing too serious and he’ll be back on the US swing."

Dominic Thiem came from behind to edge Nick Kyrgios in a five-set epic in the Australian Open third round on Friday.

Thiem, last year's runner-up in Melbourne, fought back to win 4-6 4-6 6-3 6-4 6-4 on John Cain Arena.

The Austrian third seed was unable to match Kyrgios' energy levels early on, but the reigning US Open champion responded to reach the fourth round of a major for the 15th time in his career.

Thiem, who will face Grigor Dimitrov in the fourth round, was in impressive form after his slow start, finishing with 57 winners and just 28 unforced errors.

Kyrgios was getting the crowd – full of energy ahead of Victoria going into a five-day lockdown from Saturday due to coronavirus concerns – involved from the warm-up, while Thiem appeared flat.

An underarm ace saw Kyrgios take a two-sets-to-love lead as he looked in control before Thiem responded.

Coming from 15-40 down in the opening game of the third set, Thiem won 20 consecutive points on serve.

Kyrgios steadied and held after a marathon game to begin the fourth set, but he could not deny Thiem – who continued to hold serve comfortably – in the ninth as the Austrian broke with a cross-court forehand pass.

A point penalty for ball abuse appeared to bring Kyrgios to life, but Thiem saved a break point and served out the set.

The crucial and only break of the fifth set came for Thiem in the seventh game after several fine returns and he closed out his victory with a spectacular backhand winner down the line.

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