A duel between Djokovic and Kyrgios in the final at the Wimbledon tournament

Howard Fendrich, The Associated Press

WIMBLEDON, UK — Novak Djokovic and Nick Kyrgios have been like dog and cat before.

The two players who will meet in the final at Wimbledon on Sunday have now developed a sort of ‘bromance’, as Kyrgios put it recently.

« Everyone knows we couldn’t feel like we were in a certain era, » said the 27-year-old Australian, who will be playing in a Grand Slam final for the first time — and Djokovic’s 32nd. It was good for sports. Every time we faced each other, we felt an increase in animosity. It interested the media, the spectators, everyone.

Kyrgios, who is known for his outspokenness, was particularly incisive towards Djokovic after the Serb hosted a charity tournament amid the coronavirus pandemic in 2020. Then, in January 2022, Kyrgios suddenly came to Djokovic’s defense after that he made the decision not to get vaccinated against COVID-19, which led to a legal saga and ultimately his expulsion from Melbourne on the eve of the Australian Open.

So where is the relationship today?

« We get along much better than before, » summed up the ‘Djoker’.

Kyrgios was more expressive about this.

“We often exchange messages in private conversation on Instagram and other platforms. It’s very strange, said the 40th player in the world. And earlier this week he said to me, ‘Hopefully we’ll see each other on Sunday’. »

Which will obviously be the case on center court on a beautiful Sunday afternoon, with a lot at stake.

Djokovic, the world No. 1, could win a fourth consecutive title at the All England Club, and a seventh overall (the record for a tennis player belongs to Roger Federer, with eight).

The 35-year-old tennis player could also get his 21st major career title, which would allow him to break the tie with Federer and approach only one of the Spaniard Rafael Nadal. The latter withdrew from his semi-final match against Kyrgios due to a tear in an abdominal muscle.

And there is another factor to take into account: Djokovic does not know when he will be able to participate in a Grand Slam tournament again, the type of tournaments that mean the most to him. Currently, he is banned from the United States because he is not vaccinated, which means he could not travel to New York for the United States Open in August.

And it is still unclear whether he will be able to travel to Australia in 2023, as his visa was revoked this year.

“At this point in my career, every game, every Grand Slam is huge. I don’t know how many more times I will be able to participate in major tournaments, and win titles, ”recalled Djokovic after beating local favorite, Cameron Norrie, 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 in semi-finals on Friday.

« So obviously I approach every game positively, with confidence and with a renewed will to win, » said Djokovic, who is currently enjoying a 27-game winning streak at Wimbledon. I don’t want to go into details and routines that allow me to feel good and to be perfectly prepared (for the final). But I do certain things in order to be well prepared physically, mentally and emotionally.

“But one thing is certain, continued Djokovic. There will be fireworks, emotionally, on both sides of the net.”

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