- Nick Kyrgios hit out at Novak Djokovic after his victory in the first round of the Australian Open, calling him “strange.”
- He also criticized the Serb’s behaviour during the pandemic and said he isn’t “even close” to Roger Federer in terms of talent.
- Last week, Djokovic told reporters that he believed Kyrgios was a “talented” player, but that he has “not much respect for him” off the court.
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Nick Kyrgios hit out at Novak Djokovic after his victory in the first round of the Australian Open, calling the Serbian “strange” and saying he’s not “even close” to Roger Federer in terms of talent.
Just prior to the start of the Open, Djokovic told reporters that he believed Kyrgios was a “talented” player, but that he has “not much respect for him” off the court.
Kyrgios, competing in his first major tournament since last year’s Australian Open, swept aside Frederico Ferreira Silva 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 on Monday to book his place in the second round, where he will face Frenchman Ugo Humbert on Wednesday.
—#AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) February 8, 2021
After the victory, the Australian took to opportunity to address Djokovic’s comments.
“It’s a strange one for me,” he said.
“I read his comments. He said he doesn’t respect me off the court. I’m like, it actually would make complete sense to me if he was like, ‘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’ve done in the past.
“When we’ve played matches, I think I’ve been pretty good towards him. I’m not quite sure how you can’t respect me off the court. I’ve gone about things extremely well, especially during the pandemic.
“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 who need food. I have a foundation.
“So it’s very strange to me why he would say he doesn’t respect me off the court – I actually do a lot off the court.”
Kyrgios went on to contrast his own behaviour during the pandemic to that of Djokovic, which he has previously criticized.
Djokovic was responsible for organizing the Adria Tour in June – a non-COVID-19 secure tournament which resulted in a number of players and onlookers testing positive for the virus. During the event, the 33-year-old was also pictured partying maskless and topless in a Belgrade nightclub.
“He’s a very strange cat, Novak is,” said Kyrgios.
“A heck of a tennis player but unfortunately someone who’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.”
After his strongly worded statement on Djokovic, Kyrgios was then asked by a reporter who of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Djokovic was the greatest tennis player of all-time.
While Kyrgios did compliment Djokovic on his dominance on the court in recent years, he said neither the Serbian or Nadal come close to Federer when it comes to being the GOAT of men’s tennis.
“I think in my opinion I believe Roger is the greatest of all time,” he said. “With his skill set, the way he plays the game, I think it’s pure.
“I actually think talent-wise Nadal and Djokovic aren’t even close to Roger. Talent-wise, just purely based on talent the way Federer plays, his hands, his serving, his volleys, untouchable.”