“Off-Court, I Don’t Have Much Respect For Him”: Novak Djokovic Responds to Nick Kyrgios’ Criticism

Published 02/06/2021, 11:44 PM EST
Tennis – ATP Cup – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 5, 2021 Serbia’s Novak Djokovic during his group stage match against Germany’s Alexander Zverev REUTERS/Jaimi Joy

The moment has arrived that all tennis fans eagerly awaited. Tomorrow, the curtain will be lifted as we jump into the first major of the season with the Australian Open 2021. And with a record eight Australian Open titles to his name already, Novak Djokovic will be raring to go and extend his record further.


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2021 is the second consecutive year where the Serbian ace defends his AO title. Before this, Novak Djokovic completed a hat trick in 2011-2012-2013, the only player to do so down under. Now, he is on the course of doing it again.

Novak Djokovic faces a tough Australian Open 2021 draw


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The 17-time Grand Slam champion is one of the best tennis players on a hard court. However, his greatness will be tested in the next two weeks. But it can also prove to be a blessing for Djokovic, as he loves to draw inspiration from tough opponents.

Tennis – ATP Cup – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 5, 2021, Serbia’s Novak Djokovic during his group stage match against Germany’s Alexander Zverev REUTERS/Jaimi Joy

Having said that, the Australian World No.45 Nick Kyrgios is one of the strongest players against the big players. While the Serbian acknowledges his importance on the tour, he has lost respect for him outside the game. This can be linked back to the constant bantering he receives from the Aussie star.

Djokovic said, “I think he is good for the sport, he goes about things in an authentic way. Everyone has a right to express themselves in a way they want. He has a quality to beat everyone. Off the court, I don’t have much respect for him, I’ll leave it at that.”

Apart from Nick, Djokovic has a lot to look forward to at the upcoming tournament. Earlier in the exhibition match in Adelaide and the ATP Cup, the 33-year-old raised some injury concerns. Despite that, he is motivated to bring out his best game at the Australian Open 2021.

With German World No.7 Alexander Zverev on the same side of the draw as Djokovic, he will pose as one of the Serbian’s biggest threat. And to play his 28th Grand Slam final, Djokovic will most likely face World No.3 Dominic Thiem in the semifinals.

Nevertheless, the Serbian ace is the favorite to win the title and he will play like a champion. And since Roger Federer is not playing, he has a good chance to reduce the gap in the Grand Slam tally race.


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Djokovic on the course for his 18th Grand Slam title

Winning a Major is the biggest dream of every tennis player, and it doesn’t change even after one wins 17 of them. The Serbian ace has some tough competition down under. And for him to win here will not only testify to his greatness but put him down as the best competitor of the sport.


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Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates at the trophy presentation ceremony after winning the men’s singles final match against Dominic Thiem of Austria on day fourteen of the 2020 Australian Open at Melbourne Park in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Andy Cheung/Getty Images)

Win or lose, every athlete is grateful to be a part of the important events in the sport, especially following the disruption caused last year by the pandemic. Hopefully, the Happy Slam will conclude on a happier tone and give 2021 a wonderful start.

As for Djokovic, he will see a great many fans cheering for him with the organizers promising to allow a few thousand spectators in Melbourne Park for the Slam.


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Who will be the biggest threat for Novak in Melbourne Park?

WATCH: When Roger Federer Took a Sly Dig at Novak Djokovic for Giving Up at Australian Open



Purav Joshi

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Purav Joshi is a Tennis author at EssentiallySports. Having a degree in Films, Television and Media Production, he guided his passion for writing and journalism into the sport of aces and rallies. With over 2 years of experience as a copywriter, Purav has authored over 500 tennis articles.