Nick Kyrgios and Novak Djokovic may have had a frosty relationship over the years, but the Australian now says it is more of a “bromance”.
Kyrgios, who will face the Serbian six-time champion in Sunday’s Wimbledon final, caused a stir on a podcast in 2019 when he branded Djokovic “cringeworthy” and claimed he was obsessed with wanting to be liked.
But after Kyrgios criticised Djokovic’s treatment by border officials in his homeland ahead of this year’s Australian Open, he says they are now so friendly they even exchange messages on social media.
“We definitely have a bit of a bromance now, which is weird,” said the world number 40.
“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. It was interesting for the media, the people watching, all that.
“I felt like I was almost the only player and someone to stand up for him with all that drama at the Australian Open.
“I feel like that’s where respect is kind of earned. Not on the tennis court, but I feel like when a real-life crisis is happening and someone stands up for you.
“We actually message each other on DMs in Instagram now and stuff. It’s real weird. Actually, earlier in the week, he was like ‘hopefully I’ll see you Sunday’.”
Djokovic smiled when Kyrgios’ comments were put to him after his four-set victory over Britain’s Cameron Norrie.
“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.”
Kyrgios continues to divide opinion with his on-court behaviour, but Australian former Wimbledon finalist Mark Philippoussis says that’s what makes him so dangerous.
“Look, we all know he has the game to go all the way,” said Philippoussis. “That’s never been the issue. He’s got to stay focused. He’s got an opportunity.
“When he made the quarters last time he was a raw teenager, everything was fresh, new and exciting and there were no expectations. Now we know he’s got a lot of experience, we know he’s got the game.
“He plays better when he creates the drama and guys lose focus, it’s part of his game. Has he got an opportunity? Absolutely. Anything can happen in tennis.”