WATCH: Funny moment Nick Kyrgios compared himself to Novak Djokovic in a match
Nick Kyrgios has made a wide range of comments involving Novak Djokovic over the years, with an entertaining one coming during a doubles match he was competing in.
At the 2019 Indian Wells Masters, Kyrgios was partnering Taylor Fritz in the opening round of the men’s doubles draw against Steve Johnson and Dominic Thiem.
The Australian-American wildcard pairing prevailed 7-5, 6-1 over their American and Austrian opponents at the ATP Masters 1000 tournament.
During a changeover, Kyrgios was impressed as he gave an assessment of the quality of returning on display from all four players on court.
While he did not rate his own serving performance, he clearly felt his return was working well as he compared it to that of Djokovic – arguably the game’s greatest ever returner. The Australian’s tactical discussion brought laughter from both himself and Fritz.
“Everyone’s returning well. I haven’t missed a return – literally. Literally, I’m returning like I’m Novak. Can’t serve right now, but I’m returning like I’m Novak. On break points I’m hitting the most ridiculous returns – like a laser beam (laughing).
The duo were beaten in a match tiebreak in the following round in Indian Wells by the sixth-seeded pairing of Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo, who went on to reach the final.
While he has had some great highs on the singles court, Kyrgios’ biggest career achievement came in doubles when he and close friend Thanasi Kokkinakis won the men’s doubles event at the 2022 Australian Open. The Australian pair also competed at the doubles tournament at the 2022 ATP Finals.
In singles, the 28-year-old was a runner-up at the 2022 Wimbledon Championships, losing in a four-set final to Djokovic. He holds a 2-1 record against the Serbian legend, having won both matches in early 2017.
Kyrgios was not a fan of Djokovic earlier in his career, labelling the Serb as “cringeworthy” and accusing him of having an obsession with wanting to be like in 2019. After Kyrgios criticised him again in 2021, Djokovic hit back by saying he did not have “much respect” the Aussie off the court.
The relationship between the pair improved, though, when Kyrgios supported the 24-time Grand Slam champion following his deportation from Australia ahead of the 2022 Australian Open.
Kyrgios and Djokovic have both largely been warm towards each other since and have used the word “bromance” to describe their relationship, which would have seemed highly improbable a few years ago.
Following a charity exhibition between the pair in January, Kyrgios discussed how the dynamic has shifted in an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald.
“I think my relationship with the ‘Big Three’ is all different. I’m really close with Novak now. [I’m] quite close with Roger [Federer]. And me and Rafa [Nadal] – we just [nod] when we walk past each other,” explained the former world No 13.
“I don’t really regret anything [I said about Djokovic] – I think life is too short to regret. You kind of learn from these experiences. They are all kinds of building blocks
“At the same time, I think it’s made our relationship even more special, now it’s gone from a rough sort of place to – we’re helping each other out on the biggest stage. To think I’m able to do that with one of the greatest of all-time is cool.”
During a press conference earlier this year, Djokovic singled out the talented Australian as the player he would like to coach.
“I would love to coach Nick Kyrgios. He would win five Slams with me, but it would not come cheap! (smiling),” said the 36-year-old.
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