Australian tennis doubles Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis inspire some and create trouble or at least horror for others. Now both actually won the biggest title of their careers. He’s historic.
Stan Wawrinka is reminiscent of an ancient story these days. One of the most disturbing moments in recent tennis history. Just over six years ago, the Swiss world-class player played against Nick Kyrgios, who at the time moved up and was then 20 years old. In the second set of the match, Kyrgios, well captured by the outside microphones, said in the direction of Wawrinkas: “Kokkinakis beat your girlfriend, sorry to tell you that, mate,” said Kyrgios: “Kokkinakis beat your girlfriend, sorry. Have to tell. you it, dude. “
Wawrinka later had to give up due to back problems – and was horrified afterwards: “It’s so disappointing that a colleague can be disrespectful in a way you could not imagine at all,” the two-time Grand Slam champion wrote: “I would not even say that to my worst enemy. It is unacceptable and beyond anyone’s imagination to sink so low.” What was the meaning of the story has not been solved. It does not matter either. Either way, Thanasi Kokkinakis and Nick Kyrgios are still there. Both are playing together for the double this Saturday title at the Australian Open And they are making trouble again in Australia these days. Some people inspire others, and the others are many, many more.
Because Kokkinakis and Kyrgios were sent off by the Australian Federation with a wild card in the doubles competition at the Australian Open. In singles, none of them played a significant role in the season’s first Grand Slam tournament, but they captured the men’s doubles. And in fact, won the biggest success of their careers in a superior way. They gave Australian world-class duo Max Purcell and Matthew Ebden no chance in the first purely Australian doubles final since 1980 with a score of 7: 5, 6: 4. It was the first time in the professional era since 1968 that a doubles team that only participated in the tournament thanks to a wildcard won. And as always, it was a big show. The great and somehow logical end to a wild journey.
In the first round the two young men swept the number one seeded Croatian Mektic / Pavic off the field, in the semifinals the third seeded Granollers / Zeballos had no chance and in between the Australians said goodbye to the German doubles specialist Tim Pütz and his. partner Michael Venus Competition. Their matches have long since taken place in the Rod Laver Arena, the tournament’s largest stage.
“On a razor”
And what the Australians brought to the court can rightly be called tennis’s biggest show. The two celebrate victories with wild dances, they jump towards each other in the air and roll across the square intertwined. There is hardly a fight going on without a “nervous breakdown” from one of the two. In the semifinals, Kyrgios complained loudly to the chair judge about what he thought was a misaligned mesh sensor, after which he lost his serve. But while Kyrgios struggled with himself, Kokkinakis found his best tennis. A couple of matches later, the match was over. Because Kokkinakis and Kyrgios complement each other on his team, which sometimes brings brilliant tennis to the court. “I think we both bring something different, a different energy, a different charisma to the pitch, but we just enjoy it and have fun,” Kokkinakis said, describing the dynamics between the two.
Audiences love the two tattooed “Special K’s” with dangling earrings that the team has long been known for. In the quarterfinals against Pütz / Venus, Kyrgios unnecessarily kicked a ball into the audience – and hit a little boy. Kyrgios was honestly shocked and gave one of his rackets to the bitterly crying fan. All good, the audience went crazy with enthusiasm. Something is always. “It’s about the crowd, the atmosphere that gets us started, and then we take care of tennis,” Kokkinakis said recently after winning the semifinals. “It brings out the best in us, and I do not know if we would have achieved that result elsewhere.” Kyrgios thinks he’s on a mission anyway. The 26-year-old wants to make his countrymen happy and entertained after the enormous hardships caused by Corona. After spectacular points, Kyrgios sometimes takes a round of honor with outstretched arms to celebrate it with his own fans.
Both use the audience to their advantage, they animate it to push themselves and sometimes also to remove the opponent’s desire a bit. Or at least the concentration. In a sport where rest is actually sacred, at least in the concentration phases, the behavior of the “Special Ks” is at least cross-border. “If it’s just about entertainers and good moods, everything’s okay. He’s on a knife edge between being an entertainer and being over the top,” Davis Cup player Tim Pütz said in the direction of Kyrgios. “What he then does between first and second serve has nothing to do with entertainment, it has nothing to do with being funny, it’s just unsportsmanlike.”
“The more the better”
The triggered fans of the Australian double had repeatedly heckled in the phase between Pütz’s first and second serve, clearly visible in the spirit of Kyrgio. Double faults were applauded, Kyrgios sometimes even ape the opponent. And yet: “Tennis is entertainment, and Kyrgios is good for the sport in many ways,” Pütz said, still half-acknowledging: “As long as there are no right rules – my god, that’s how it is. That’s why I said it was very mentally tiring. Already wild out there. “
After the victory in the first round against Mektic / Pavic, there was almost even a physical altercation: a member of the Croatian team accused them of “showing off in front of their home crowd” and threatened them. “He came up to Nick and said we were disrespectful; Nick hit an opponent with a ball, but that’s normal.” One of the coaches threatened to hit her. “It was pretty funny, I’m not going to lie,” he explained, saying he expected the couple would “be a little better at losing”. Kyrgios then wanted the Croatian double and their coaches to “enjoy their flight home”.
Now everything should be even wilder: Because the cheapest ticket for their last day at Rod Laver Arena costs the equivalent of around 200 euros, the two audience favorites want to turn the price screw personally! “Craig (Tiley, tournament director – editor’s note) may not be happy with that, but if that means we have to lower the prices to fill the stands, then we will do whatever it takes to fill them up, “said Kokkinakis. “The more the better, the mood would be great.”
Well, the tickets remained expensive, but there were still fills up. Local heroine Ashleigh Barty won the women’s singles title for the first time, then Kokkinakis and Kyrgio welcomed two more Australians, Max Purcell and Matthew Ebden, to their home kettle for the grand finale of the Special K show. Australian double specialist Casey Dellacqua warned: “The people who come have already bought their tickets,” she told Channel Nine. “I think it’s going to be a very different audience than what we’ve seen so far. The audience came to see the singles final, and then comes the men’s doubles. I think it’s going to be more even than it was. With Nick and Thanasi’s other games. “
However, Purcell and Ebden were not so lucky to be able to help shape the show at least a little bit and not just be there as extras. Kokkinakis and Kyrgios did not allow a single breakball in the entire match. The four countrymen were not particularly kind in advance. Purcell had already described Kyrgios and Kokkinakis as “extremely disrespectful”. Purcell responded with his comment on Instagram to a user who said Kyrgios should have been ruled out immediately when he threw the ball into the crowd in the semi-final, which hit a young fan. “Could not agree more,” he first wrote from his verified account, before adding in another comment, “I’m just saying that the way these guys behave is extremely disrespectful to their opponents. Love them the show and everything “We know exactly what they can do. We respect how they play. We have to find a way to counter it and do what we can.” They did not find it, Kokkinakis and Kyrgios brought the adventure to a triumphant end.