Canberra tennis star Nick Kyrgios made a triumphant return to the court with a straight sets 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 round one victory over Portugal’s Fredrico Ferreira Silva at the Australian Open on Monday night.
Kyrgios spent almost a year out of the tour during the COVID pandemic, but it was clear he hadn’t lost any of his entertaining qualities on the court.
The 25-year-old was broken early to fall behind 2-0 before breaking back immediately through an epic 15-minute game that included a typical Kyrgios outburst.
“Tell your girlfriend to get out of my box,” Kyrgios yelled between points.
It was unclear who the spray was directed at, but it is something fans have come to expect from the Canberran and part of what makes him one of the most entertaining athletes going around.
Perhaps delivering the spray relieved some tension or maybe he just needed to get rid of some court rust, but Kyrgios soon clicked into gear to take the first set before breaking early in the second to take a two-set lead.
Kyrgios suffered a mini meltdown to start the third set, dropping the first two games without winning a point.
However, he rallied quickly and played some brilliant tennis to level up, pull ahead and book his spot in the second round where he will meet Frenchman, Ugo Humbert.
The highlight of the night came deep into the match when Kyrgios executed a brilliant ‘tweener’ shot that he has become famous for. Check out the shot at the 1:15 part of the video below.
Feud with Djokovic deepens
As has become customary with Kyrgios, he also made headlines with his post-match press conference, stoking the fire of his feud with Novak Djokovic.
Djokovic made comments on Sunday saying he didn’t respect Kyrgios off the court, which prompted a response from the Aussie.
“It’s a strange one for me, because, you know, I read his comments, he said he doesn’t respect me off the court,” Kyrgios said.
“I’m, like, it actually would make complete sense to me if he was like, ‘look, I don’t respect the guy on the court’, because I understand if he doesn’t agree with some of my antics on the court that I have done in the past.
“When we’ve played matches, I think I’ve actually been pretty good towards him.”
He then made the point of how different their behaviour has been during the pandemic, with Kyrgios helping deliver groceries to people in need in Canberra, while Djokovic was off partying in Serbia.
“I’m not quite sure how he can’t respect me off the court,” Kyrgios said.
“I feel like I’ve gone about things extremely well, especially during the pandemic, I was driving around delivering food to people during the pandemic that didn’t or couldn’t get the supplies.
“I was extremely careful about what I was doing, I didn’t want to spread the virus to anyone.
“Now I’m actually trying to donate meal kits to people that need food [and] I have my foundation.
“So it’s very strange to me as to why he would say he doesn’t respect me off the court.
“But, yeah, he’s a very strange cat, Novak is.
“Heck of a tennis player, but unfortunately someone that’s partying with his shirt off during a global pandemic, I don’t know if I can take any slack from that man. That’s as bad as it gets for me,” Kyrgios said.
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