It’s only been a few years since Nick Kyrgios, 27, said he “can’t stand” Novak Djokovic, 35. Four years later, they met in the final at Wimbledon as friends.
– Surely we have some kind of “friendship” now. It’s weird before the final against Novak Djokovic, says Nick Kyrgios.
The relationship between tennis stars wasn’t always rosy. It wouldn’t be long before there was a real feud between the finalists at Wimbledon.
– Everyone knows we hated each other for a while. I think it was good for sports. Every time we played against each other, there was a buzz about it. Kyrgios says it was fun for the media and everyone who watched it.
The Australian, who reached the final on a thrilling run after injured Rafael Nadal withdrew from the semi-finals, was known to be very outspoken. Historically, Djokovic is one of those who have had to escape the most.
When Kyrgios appeared on the podcast No Challenges Remaining in 2019, he faced the Serb hard.
– I just feel like he has a sick obsession to be loved. He wants to be like Roger Federer. I just can’t stand it. The ceremony he had after the battles… It’s so small, it was part of what Kyrios had said.
Djokovic was famous for his regular celebration as he waved his arms towards the stands. At the 2021 Australian Open, Kerio mocked Djokovic by imitating the celebration.
But the relationship between the players changed this winter. When Djokovic was not allowed to play in the Australian Open because he had not been vaccinated against the coronavirus, Kyrgios criticized the Serbian’s treatment.
Suddenly there was mutual respect between them, according to Kyrgios.
I felt like I was the only player who defended him during all the drama at the Australian Open. This is how you get respect. Not for what you’re doing on the tennis court, but for when you stand up for someone when they’re in real trouble, Kyrgios says.
– Now we send messages to each other on Instagram. this is very strange. Earlier this week he said, “Hope to see you on Sunday.”
After Djokovic defeated Cameron Norrie in the semi-finals on Friday, he was also asked about his friendship with Kyrgios.
“I don’t know if I can call it ‘bromance’ yet, but for sure we have a better relationship now than we had before January,” Djokovic said at a press conference.
The Serbian has never defeated Kyrgios in a match, but he is happy that they will both fight for the Grand Slam title.
When it was really difficult for me in Australia, he was one of the very few players who went out in public and supported me and stood by me. I really appreciate this. Djokovic says I respect him a lot for that.