Nick Kyrgios and tennis have a relationship that is not easy to put into words. If you try anyway, you will inevitably come up with terms like “love-hate”. If you last watched the Australian at work, Kyrgios – with the exception of minor and major freaks – the great connection to tennis is obvious. If you listen to the words of the 27-year-old afterwards, what you see is rarely confirmed.

It was no different in the run-up to the exhibition duel with Novak Djokovic – in any case, the training match between the two top stars was sold by the organizers of the Australian Open in order to be able to put what was shown behind a payment barrier – no different. Kyrgios is “100% certain” that he will end his career if he wins a Grand Slam title in singles. “It’s a lot of training and a lot of work,” said the Australian at Eurosport. And he doesn’t like it.

This is largely due to the fact that the side effects of being a professional are consistently a thorn in the side of the 27-year-old: “I just want to be able to eat what I want and drink what I want and just relax. It’s a tough lifestyle,” Kyrgios said. “The dedication these guys show day in, day out. I did a bit of that last year and had a great year to show I’m still among the best.”

Kyrgios would like to show this dedication again this year, at least he hopes, knowing full well that it will not be easy. The show match against Djokovic was a good start, it was also Kyrgios’ first official match in the 2023 season. And of all things against a man with whom the Australian did not have a good connection for a long time. Which is why Kyrgios “absolutely could not” have imagined playing an exhibition match with the Serb.

They only really warmed up to each other when Kyrgios broke a lance for the Serbs during the entry chaos surrounding Djokovic. With the simple reasoning: “I think it’s just important to have him here. Obviously one of the greatest left us last year, Roger (Federer, and I think we had no idea how special these guys are to our sport.” Words from a man who somehow has to love tennis more than hate it .

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