Nick Kyrgios Will Play Novak Djokovic In Pre-Australian Open ‘extravaganza’


Nick Kyrgios will make his long-awaited return from injury when he plays Novak Djokovic in a one-off match on the eve of the Australian Open.

The Aussie star and the 21-time Grand Slam winner will face off at the Rod Laver Arena at 6:30pm AEDT on Friday, Tennis Australia chief executive officer Craig Tiley said on Monday as he announced the ‘arena extravaganza’.

Tickets will be available from Tuesday and all sales will go to the Australian Tennis Foundation, Tennis Australia and the Australian Open’s official charity.

Novak Djokovic (right) will play Nick Kyrgios (left) in an exhibition match in Melbourne

‘We’re going to open up the stands with ticket sales […] It’ll be a very low price points, so we can get the stadium full on Rod Laver,’ Tiley told reporters at Melbourne Park.

‘Fans can come out, and it’ll go towards the Australian Tennis Foundation.

‘Both Novak and Nick have agreed to do it, so we think there’ll be a really cool initiative.’

The exhibition will coincide with the release of the first episode of Break Point – Netflix’s new 10-part documentary on tennis’ ‘Generation Next’ – which focuses on Kyrgios.

The Aussie is the focus of the first episode of Netflix's new documentary Break Point

The Aussie is the focus of the first episode of Netflix’s new documentary Break Point

The rematch of the 2022 Wimbledon Final will also mark Djokovic’s first return to Melbourne since his controversial exclusion from the Australian Open 12 months ago.

Djokovic was at the centre of a diplomatic storm in January last year, when he was deported for not complying with the vaccination restrictions that were in place back then.

The Serb, who was unvaccinated against Covid-19, had his visa cancelled twice after arriving in Australia ahead of the Australian Open.

But Tiley believes fans in Melbourne will be delighted to welcome back the 35-year-old, who has won the Australian Open a record nine times.

new balance
Djokovic thanked the Adelaide crowd on Sunday after winning the Adelaide International

Djokovic thanked the Adelaide crowd on Sunday after winning the Adelaide International

‘That’s what I love about Australia,’ he said.

‘I love that our fans, our sporting fans, are amongst the most educated in the world. They appreciate greatness, they appreciate players that like Novak have won this event nine times.

‘I’m excited by the fact that we’ve got all the players here. Novak is back, he’d be able to compete in front of the fans. And I’m pretty confident that the fans of Melbourne, similar to the experience that he had in Adelaide, will be just as good.’

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On Sunday, Djokovic thanked the Adelaide crowd for their support since his return to the country following his controversial deportation last year after winning the Adelaide International.

The Serb was detained by Border Force upon his arrival at Melbourne Airport in January 2022

The Serb was detained by Border Force upon his arrival at Melbourne Airport in January 2022

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His visa was cancelled, reinstated and eventually cancelled again before he was deported 

‘The support that I’ve been getting in the past 10 days is something that I don’t think I’ve experienced too many times in my life,’ he said as he addressed the crowd after beating Sebastian Korda in an epic three-set battle.

Kyrgios has long championed Djokovic’s return to Australia, calling for fans and authorities to welcome his rival back.

‘I hope he’s here, for the sport, we just saw one of the legends leave the sport – Roger [Federer] – and that’s some shoes no one is ever going to fill,’ the Australian told the Herald Sun in October.

‘So I think while Novak and Rafa [Nadal] are still around, we need these type of players to be at the Grand Slams. 

‘People of Australia, we love the Australian Open […] we want to see the best players in the world there.’

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