Kyrgios plays down ‘cringeworthy’ impersonation

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By Ben Glover and Marc ChurchesNick Kyrgios has explained his latest shot at Novak Djokovic after mocking the world No.1’s patented heart-throwing celebration as he walked out to court for his second round doubles match with Thanasi Kokkinakis today.Kyrgios has a long history of throwing shade at Djokovic and he got two shots away in quick time today, with the heart-throwing satire following a zinger on Instagram that was a thinly-veiled attempt to discredit the Serbian’s injury claims.Watch the Australian Open with live streams of every court at 9Now. Click here to start watching!Nick Kyrgios, Novak Djokovic (Nine/Getty)After he and Kokkinakis bowed out of the Australian Open doubles tournament in a 3-6 4-6 straight sets loss to Wesley Koolhof and Lukasz Kubot, Kyrgios spoke candidly about his thoughts on the 17-time major winner, with Kokkinakis chiming in.Kyrgios: Just feeling the love. Just trying to spread the good word of the celebration. Everyone loves that celebration. It’s well liked.Kokkinakis: We were just having some fun out there really because there was no one in the crowd so we were just trying to enjoy ourselves and kind of get a bit of atmosphere and energy about us.It’s nothing malicious, we just like to have some fun. Look, looking around there’s literally just blue, and we’re like, wow, this is tough. But we’re just trying to have some fun.I know tennis players are very serious, so I think that’s why we’ve kind of got a bit of energy about us.Kyrgios explains Djokovic shadeKyrgios: We just banter anyway. When we tweet or when we just do stuff, it’s for fun, you know, like you can’t take it all too seriously. I feel like…Kokkinakis: You’ve got to show a bit of personality.Kyrgios: Yeah, we’re just having some fun. Novak, I’m sure, doesn’t like me and we both have respect for each other, but I don’t like him at all, so it’s fun.Twenty-five-year-old Kyrgios, who’s beaten Djokovic in their only two encounters, has had a long-running feud with the 17-time Grand Slam champion over the years. Djokovic recently said he didn’t have “much respect” for the Aussie off the court after Kyrgios branded him a “tool” due to a list submitted to Tennis Australia, calling for lesser restrictions amid the player quarantine periods in Australia.Serbia’s Novak Djokovic celebrates after defeating United States’ Taylor Fritz. Fritz in their third round match at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2021 (AP)He has previously described Djokovic’s heart-throwing celebration as cringeworthy, adding that the youngest member of the ‘big three’ had a “sick obsession with being liked”.Djokovic pulled off a stunning fifth set win over Taylor Fritz on Friday when it appeared he was down and out after suffering an abdominal muscle injury.The American wished Djokovic a speedy recovery in an Instagram post before Kyrgios commented, poking fun at the Serbian’s lengthy injury time out.”Imma take a medical real quick Fritzy, I’ll be back in 2 hours,” Kyrgios wrote on Fritz’s post.Kokkinakis also commented on Djokovic’s injury on social media, before deleting the post due to the blowback he was copping from the Serbian’s hardcore fanbase.The Aussie, who has battled a long list of serious injuries over the last seven years, was asked about that post in the press conference.”For me I have no idea what he’s feeling or what he’s going through. I just heard he thinks he has a torn muscle,” Kokkinakis said.”I didn’t mean it in a bad way at all. I’m like, if he can recover from a torn muscle in two days, like hats off. Like teach me, yeah.Australian Open: Kokkinakis/Kyrgios v Koolhof/Kubot”But I don’t know, I just … because I knew some Serbian fans would take that in like a negative way, and I copped abuse for it, but it wasn’t even taking a shot at him.”I’m just like, if he actually has a torn muscle and can recover in two days, that’s impressive, because I haven’t been able to do that and it’s taken me months.”But obviously he’s a hell of a player, and yeah, I don’t know, I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t play tonight. But yeah, I don’t know.”For a daily dose of the best of the breaking news and exclusive content from Wide World of Sports, subscribe to our newsletter by clicking here!


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