Concerns surrounding Nick Kyrgios‘ fitness leading into next week’s Australian Open have been allayed with the Aussie firebrand committing to an exhibition match against Novak Djokovic on Friday night.
Speaking on Monday, Tennis Australia chief executive Craig Tiley announced that the pair would meet in a charity match at Rod Laver Arena “extravaganza”, with all proceeds from ticket sales to be donated to the Australian Tennis Foundation.
The match will serve as the finale of the Australian Open’s Perfect Practice series – an opportunity for drawcards to prepare under match conditions in the lead up to the Slam.
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The once-daily matches will include Rafael Nadal, Daniil Medvedev, Coco Gauff and Maria Sakkari – to name a few.
Kyrgios and Djokovic last met in last year’s Wimbledon final where Djokovic emerged victorious, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (7-3).
Two of a kind, Kyrgios and Djokovic have notoriously swayed between an on-again, off-again relationship while on tour together.
Despite Kyrgios recently withdrawing from Australia’s United Cup team at the eleventh hour to recover from a persisting ankle injury, Tiley said he had been in communication with the world No.22’s team who assured him that Kyrgios would be fit to play on Friday.
The match will also serve as Djokovic’s return to Melbourne Park after he was infamously deported from the country ahead of last year’s tournament.
Following a positive experience in South Australia – where Djokovic claimed the Adelaide International title on Sunday – Tiley was confident tennis fans in Melbourne would show the nine-time Australian Open champion the same affection.
“He really enjoyed the experience in South Australia and he was welcomed … he loved it there,” he said.
“I love that our fans are sporting fans and are among the most educated and appreciate greatness. They appreciate players like Novak that have won this event nine times.
“Novak is back and I’m pretty confident that the Melbourne fans – similar to the experience he had in Adelaide – will be just as good.”
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