Wimbledon | Tennis | July 9, 2022


Novak Djokovic admits his relationship with volatile Wimbledon opponent Nick Kyrgios has improved beyond recognition since the Australian publicly defended him despite having a canceled visa and being expelled from Down Under earlier this year.

Not so long ago in 2020, after Djokovic organized the now infamous Adria Tour which led to several players contracting Covid, Kyrgios said of the unfortunate episode: “Unfortunately, while he was Supposed to show leadership and humility, he disappeared. The majority would say he took an L regardless. And the Aussie was later to call Djokovic “a tool” for his Covid quarantine demands leading to the ‘Australian Open 2021.

But Kyrgios was one of the few players to publicly defend Djokovic and criticize his own Australian government during the chaos that led to the Serb – who refuses to take a Covid shot – having his visa canceled and deported in January of this year, unable to defend his title in Melbourne.

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Kyrgios called it “a s*** show”, adding; “I feel like we’re just trying to fight things that are wrong, it’s not about vaccinations anymore, it’s just about not being here with the right visa or having your visa cancelled. his visa. I just think it’s crazy, I feel so sorry for him. Preparing for an Australian Open or a Grand Slam is enough for someone and the pressures they are under are so unique that he is aiming for 21 Grand Slams. Now his visa is cancelled. The way we handle this stuff is just embarrassing.

Kyrgios revealed that it had improved their relationship considerably as they regularly exchanged messages – even suggesting that she had reached the heights of a “bromance”.

With Kyrgios boasting one of tennis’ longest rap sheets for his on-court behavior, including two fines so far at this Wimbledon, both have had their spells mired in controversy.

And Djokovic said: “I don’t know yet if I can call it a bromance! But we definitely have a better relationship than it probably was before January of this year. When it was really difficult for me in Australia, he was one of the few players who came forward publicly and supported and supported me. It’s something that I really appreciate. So I respect him a lot for that.

“In a way, it’s a surprise [Kyrgios reached the final] because of its ranking. He has never reached a Grand Slam final. So maybe not many people give him a big chance of reaching the final.

“But between us players, we always know how dangerous it is, on grass in particular, because of his game, because of his attitude on the pitch, to be so confident, to go there, to “to be a very complete player. It seems that he is mentally in a better state than a few years ago.

“As you mature, you understand yourself what you need to do to put yourself in the best possible and optimal state of mind, body and soul in order to perform at your best. This are the occasions where he loves, where he thrives, on a big stage. So in another way, it’s also no surprise to me that he’s there. And honestly, as a fan tennis, I’m glad he’s in the final because he’s so talented.

“We know what happened for many years with him mentally, emotionally. On and off the field, many different things distracted him. But for the quality player that he is, this is where he should be, and he deserves to be.

And in one of the most anticipated finals in years, Djokovic – who lost both matches of the tour to Kyrgios in straight sets – has no doubts about the threat Kyrgios poses with his serve and other weapons and above all on the grass.

He added: “His movement for the serve is so fluid and very fast, he can really hit any angle. He throws it forward so he can enter, serve and volley. He puts himself in a great position to be aggressive or to stay back Hard to read his serve I haven’t trained with him or played with him since the last time I lost to him.

“On grass, I guess it’s even harder to read his serve and come back because he has so many free points. You could see that throughout this tournament as well. He just puts extra pressure on your serve He moves well, has good hands and is a very complete player.

“I guess it’s going to be a game of small margins. I hope I can be at the level I want, so it’s really a mental game in the end, which remains harder and calmer in the decisive moments.

*18+ | BeGambleAware | Odds are subject to change

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