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“Off the court, I don’t have much respect for him,” says Djokovic about Kyrgios

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World number one Novak Djokovic said on Sunday he had little respect for Nick Kyrgios’ off-court antics after the polarising Australian recently called him ’a tool’.

World number one Novak Djokovic said on Sunday he had little respect for Nick Kyrgios’ off-court antics after the polarising Australian recently called him ’a tool’. Picture: David Gray, AFP

MELBOURNE – World number one Novak Djokovic said on Sunday he had little respect for Nick Kyrgios’s off-court antics after the polarising Australian recently called him “a tool”.

Kyrgios has waged a running battle with the Serb in recent times, sparked by Djokovic’s ill-fated Adria Tour exhibition series last year as the coronavirus pandemic raged.

After lashing his “stupidity” when several players who took part contracted Covid-19, Kyrgios also quickly weighed in when Djokovic was sensationally disqualified from the US Open for hitting a woman line judge in the throat with a ball.

And last month, he dismissed him as a “tool” after the Serb issued a list of demands for quarantined players who arrived on charter flights for the Australian Open.

Djokovic, who is gunning for an 18th Grand Slam title at the Australian Open, said he had mixed views on the combustible Kyrgios.

“I think he’s good for the sport. Obviously he’s someone that is different. He goes about his tennis, he goes about his off court things in his own authentic way,” he said.

“I have respect for him. I have respect for everyone else really because everyone has a right and freedom to choose how they want to express themselves, what they want to do.

“My respect goes to him for the tennis he’s playing.

“Off the court, I don’t have much respect for him, to be honest.

“That’s where I’ll close it. I really don’t have any further comments for him, his own comments for me or anything else he’s trying to do.”

Kyrgios’s feud with Djokovic dates back to 2019, he when he told the No Challenges Remaining podcast: “I just feel like he (Djokovic) has a sick obsession, wanting to be liked.”

AFP