Novak Djokovic and Nick Kyrgios had a bad relationship in the past. The Australian used to badmouth the Serb every chance he got, with no respect for one of the best players in football. Things changed last year, with Kyrgios trailing Djokovic during the Serb’s saga in Melbourne over his visa.
Novak left Australia and remembered Nick’s support. Two rivals got a chance to play their third match at Wimbledon last year, standing on the court together after more than five years. Kyrgios was happy to see Djokovic in Australia in early 2023, and on Friday they hosted an exhibition match at the sold-out Rod Laver Arena.
They turned into a spectacle, with youth and wheelchair players joining them on the pitch. Djokovic praised Kyrgios and his ability to win notable tournaments. The Serb mentioned his H2H score and stated that Nick can win a major event.
Djokovic and Kyrgios played twice in a couple of weeks in 2017, with the Australian scoring wins in Acapulco and Indian Wells. In the Acapulco quarterfinals, Kyrgios prevailed 7-6, 7-5 in one hour and 47 minutes. Thus, Djokovic failed to reach the ATP hard-court semi-final for the first time since the 2011 ATP Finals!
Nick dropped 15 points in 12 service games and saved the only break point offered to the Serb. Novak broke down in the closing stages of the second set and lost pivotal points to hit the starting gate. A few weeks later, Kyrgios dethroned the five-time Indian Wells champion 6-4, 7-6 in one hour and 51 minutes for his third Masters 1000 semifinal.
Nick’s first serve was a real conundrum for Novak, as the Australian hit 14 aces and a similar number of service winners to keep his second serve safe and never face break point. His third match came at Wimbledon last year, and Djokovic cruised to a 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 triumph for his seventh All England Club trophy.
Nick got off to a better start in his first Major final and broke Novak at 2-2. The Australian served well and grabbed the first set 6-4 to push himself.
Novak Djokovic had a good word to say about Nick Kyrgios in Melbourne.
Djokovic delivered his first break over Kyrgios in the fourth game of the second set and served for the set at 5-3.
Nick made one last push and created four break points. Novak saved them and finished the set to level the overall score. Djokovic controlled the pace in set number three, dropping six points behind the opening shot and earning a late break.
Djokovic created a break chance after Kyrgios’s double fault at 4-4, and Nick netted a backhand to fall behind. Novak held at 30 in the tenth game to clinch the set and move closer to the finish line. Both players served well in the fourth set and introduced a tiebreaker.
Novak opened a 2-0 lead with a game-winning volley and took two more mini-breaks to make it 4-1. The Serb claimed an extended rally at 5-1 to earn five match points. The Australian saved the first with a forehand winner and fired his 30th ace for 3-6.
Novak converted the third match point after the opponent’s backhand error to start a massive celebration of his 21st Grand Slam crown. «Nick is 2-1 against me. As far as I’m concerned, he can win anything,» said Novak Djokovic.