‘No love lost’: Deeply personal attack that preceded ‘weird’ Kyrgios-Djoker bromance

Nick Kyrgios and Novak Djokvoic will meet in the Wimbledon final in the latest chapter of what’s been a fascinating, and rocky, relationship.
Once fierce enemies who publicy pot-shotted each other, the duo will now head into Sunday night’s (AEST) decider as friends. Well, kind of.

“We definitely have a bit of a bromance now, which is weird,” Kyrgios said at his pre-final press conference on Friday.

“I think everyone knows there was no love lost for a while there. I think it was healthy for the sport. I think every time we played each other, there was hype around it.”
“I felt like I was almost the only kind of player to stand up for him with all that kind of drama at Australian Open,” he said. “I feel like that’s where respect is kind of earned.”
Djokovic, speaking after his semi-final win against Cameron Norrie, agreed the relationship between the players had improved.

“I don’t know if I can call it a bromance yet, but we definitely have a better relationship than what it was probably prior to January this year,” he said.
“But when it was really tough for me in Australia, — he was one of the very few players that came out publicly and supported me and stood by me. That’s something I truly appreciate. So I respect him for that a lot.”

So let’s take a look back at what’s been a wild ride.
Three years ago, Nick Kyrgios said he would mimik Novak Djokovic’s celebration should he beat the Serbian a third successive time.

“The celebrations, they kill me. Every time, they kill me,” Kyrgios told renowned tennis correspondent Ben Rothenberg on the No Challenges Remaining podcast in 2019.
“Honestly, that’s what I’m doing next time, if I play him and beat him, I’m doing his celebration in front of him. That would be hilarious.”

Moments earlier, a candid Kyrgios said Djokovic had a “sick obsession wanting to be liked”.
“He wants to be like Roger (Federer),” Kyrgios said.
“For me, personally, I don’t care, I’ve just come this far, he just wants to be liked so much that I can’t stand him. Like this whole celebration thing he does after he wins a match, it’s like so cringeworthy. It’s very cringeworthy.

“He’s an unbelievable (tennis player), he’s a champion of the sport, one of the greatest we will ever see. Honestly I think he will get the grand slam count, I think he will surpass Federer.”
Now we will get to see whether Kyrgios still holds that opinon of his once arch-rival, after a thawing of tensions in recent months ahead of Sunday’s Wimbledon final.

For Kyrgios it will be his first slam final.
Djokovic? Well, he’s got 20 to his name and is in hot pursuit of Rafa Nadel, who extended his lead to 22 after taking home the first two slams of the year.
Sunday’s final will be their third match against each other, but crucially it will be the first time they have met in a five-set match.

In their two encounters back in 2017 (the only year since 2011 Djokovic has failed to win a slam) on hard courts, Kyrgios won both matches in two sets.
It’s why Kyrgios doesn’t believe Djokovic can ever be crowned tennis’ GOAT.
“No matter how many grand slam titles he wins, he will never be the greatest simply because I’ve played him twice and, I’m sorry, if you can’t beat me, like, you’re not the greatest of all time,” Kyrgios said on the No Challenges Remaining podcast .

“If you look at my day to day routine and how much I train and how much I put in, it’s zero compared to him.
“For me, Federer will always be the greatest of all-time. Hands down. What he’s done all on all surfaces. What Rafa’s (Nadal) done is pretty scary, like I know how many Roland Garros’ he’s won, maybe 11 or whatever? But he adapted his game to grass as well which is pretty crazy.
“But Djokovic, I don’t know, again, he just riles me the wrong way. Always says what he feels like he needs to say, never speaks his opinion.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Kyrgios was one of sport’s most outspoken athletes as he took aim at others, including Djokovic, for putting themselves ahead of the rest and indangerouring lives by continuing to play.
The Australian labelled Djokovic’s decision to go ahead with his exhibition tournament as “boneheaded”.
He then lashed others in the tennis fraternity for partying, saying “this takes the cake” for “stupidity”.
Kyrgios went on to call Djokovic a “tool” ahead of the 2021 Australian Open as the world No.1 asked organisers to ease quarantine restrictions for players.

But, as has become all-too familiar with Kyrgios, nothing is predictable in the Australian’s whirlwind rise to fame since his quarter-final appearance on debut at Wimbledon in 2014.
Tensions have thawed between the duo this year, with Kyrgios once again going against the gravy by publicly defending Djokovic when the Serb faced deportation ahead of this year’s Australian Open.
Kyrgios described Djokovic’s situation as a “shitshow” and criticised then-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 f****d. 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 f***ing nuts.”

Kyrgios revealed Djokovic had reached out to him to thank him for “standing up” for him during the Australian Open
“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 said on the No Boundaries podcast.
Soon after Djokovic said Kyrgios “surprised me pleasantly” for standing up for him during the Australian Open saga.

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