Nick Kyrgios’s notoriously frosty relationship with Novak Djokovic has thawed through the Australian firebrand’s public support for the beleaguered world No 1 during the drawn-out visa cancellation saga.
Kyrgios has been one of few tennis stars to speak out in Djokovic’s defence ahead of the Australian Open and said the 20-time grand slam champion had contacted him directly to thanked him.
Novak has reached out to me personally on IG (Instagram) saying ‘Thank you for standing up for me’,” Kyrgios said on his No Boundaries podcast.
“I was not the one he was expecting to go out in the media and have his back. As a human, he’s obviously feeling quite alienated in all of this. As a human, that’s a dangerous place to be in – when you feel like the world is against you, like you can’t do anything right.”
Kyrgios described Djokovic’s situation as a “shitshow” and criticised immigration minister Alex Hawke over his handling of the situation.
“Hawke said that he’s a threat to our borders. Ah, no he’s not. It’s like he’s a weapon of mass destruction at the moment,” Kyrgios said. “He’s here to play tennis, he’s not doing anything to anyone.
“The mistreatment of people in Melbourne has been atrocious in the last two years. I understand the anger towards him for not being vaccinated and getting a medical exemption, but if you look at it on face value, he’s got his paperwork.
“Me and Novak have a bromance now, he’s back in detention and it’s fucked. We are boys now. I can’t wait till the Aussie summer is over and we can play ball. The party after Melbourne is gonna be fucking nuts. I’ll rent a house and just go fucking nuts.”
Kyrgios arrived in Melbourne on Sunday ahead of his first-round meeting with British qualifier Liam Broady and a possible encounter with world No.2 Daniil Medvedev in the second round.
The 26-year-old from Canberra – now ranked 114th in the world – spent the previous seven days in isolation after testing positive to Covid-19. Kyrgios described having the virus as feeling like he was “smoking eight packs [of cigarettes] a day”.