Nick Kyrgios doesn’t feel the love of Australian tennis greats for his Wimbledon singles final against Novak Djokovic, but for him just being in the final is something special.
Most important points:
- Djokovic reached the final with a four-set victory over Briton Cameron Norrie
- Kyrgios says the couple’s once volatile relationship has recovered
- Djokovic, who is chasing a 21st slam title, has never taken a set from Kyrgios in two matches
Two days away from the biggest game of his career, Kyrgios said it is “sad” that many Australian tennis greats are not supporting him.
“Look, the greats of Australian tennis haven’t always been the nicest to me personally. They haven’t always supported me,” said Kyrgios.
“They haven’t supported me these two weeks. It’s hard for me to read things they say about me.
“For example, when I saw Ash Barty in the final of Australia, I was just happy. I would never say a bad word about an Australian making it to a final. Like I am.
“And the kind of one great thing that’s supported me all along is Lleyton Hewitt.
“He’s our captain in the Davis Cup and he kind of knows I’m doing my own thing.
“It’s weird that they just have a sick obsession with taking me down for some reason.”
“I just don’t know if they don’t like me or if they’re scared. I don’t know,” he said.
“It sucks because if the tables were turned, if I (Alex) saw the Minaur in a final, or if I saw Jordan Thompson or Thanasi (Kokkinakis), I’d be pumped. I’d be excited.
Support or not Kyrgios tries not to let it come to him in the run-up to the final against Djokovic, who defeated Britain’s Cameron Norrie 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4
Kyrgios, of course, got there after Rafael Nadal pulled out with a stomach injury, ahead of what would have been their semi-final.
The Australian said it was not what he wanted but that he would use the time to do a longer practice session.
“As a competitor, I really wanted that match,” Kyrgios said.
“We both beat each other in this tournament. I really wanted to see how the third chapter would go.
“I just hope he recovers. I’m sure I’ll play him on a big stage again.”
Djokovic rivalry is renewed
With that big podium comes Djokovic and some nerves for the 27-year-old Australian, who said he struggled to sleep after getting a path to his first grand slam final.
“I probably slept for an hour with everything, like the excitement,” he said.
“I had so much anxiety, I felt so nervous already, and I don’t normally feel nervous. But I had a shocking sleep last night.
Now that the final is against Djokovic, some tennis fans would expect fireworks, but Kyrgios says the former bitter rivals now have a newfound respect for each other, born of Djokovic’s troubles in Australia in January.
“We definitely have a bit of a bromance now, which is weird,” Kyrgios said.
“I think everyone knows that love hasn’t been lost there for a while.”
“I felt like I was almost the only kind of player and someone who stood up for him with all that kind of drama at the Australian Open,” Kyrgios said.
“We’re basically messaging each other now via DMs on Instagram and stuff. It’s really weird.
“Earlier in the week he was like, hopefully I’ll see you Sunday.”
Now he will, and even as the relationship gets better, Kyrgios has often enjoyed the fact that the Serbian star never took a set from him in two encounters.
Djokovic is well aware.
“We haven’t played for a while, I’ve never won a set from him, so hopefully it can be different this time,” said Djokovic.
“He doesn’t have much to lose and he always plays like this, so freely, and is one of the biggest serves in the game.
Norrie scares Djokovic
Djokovic is looking for his 21st Grand Slam title of his career in a venue where he has won the last three men’s singles titles and 27 consecutive matches.
The 27th of those wins came when he defeated Norrie in a match that didn’t always go as planned.
The only other time the pair met, Djokovic defeated Norrie in straight sets and this was to be more of the same on Friday, but Norrie raised hopes of an upset early at home as he took the opening set.
Norrie, who might be considered somewhat unorthodox with his flat backhand and heavy topspin forehand, at least stunned and stunned Djokovic for a set.
The errors also flowed from the Djokovic racket, especially on the forehand, as Norrie broke it three times in the opening set.
Djokovic looked flat, the crowd on Center Court stunned when Norrie was upset by his lack of rhythm.
“I didn’t start well and he was the better player in the first set,” said Djokovic.
But that sniff of a Wimbledon final was vague and fleeting to Norrie.
The pair traded early in the second set, before Djokovic took a decisive break for a 5-3 lead and then successfully held his own serve to equalize.
Djokovic was still barely at his best, but it was enough when Norrie’s own level dropped and he struggled to land the first serve or get his forehand under control.
On the other hand, Djokovic grew in stature and easily took the third set.
And when he broke Norrie to love in the opening game of the fourth set, it seemed a fait accompli.
Sensing their man was in trouble, the home crowd began to rally behind Norrie and he saved multiple breakpoints at 1-3 to keep himself in the game, but Djokovic stayed solid on the serve and closed the set to his place as fourth straight Wimbledon final to be booked.
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