Doubles rival caught in pre-match swipe at Kyrgios and Kokkinakis

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·Sports Editor
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Max Purcell, Matt Ebden, Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis, pictured here at the Australian Open.
Max Purcell and Matt Ebden will take on Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis in the doubles final at the Australian Open. Image: Getty

Max Purcell has been caught taking a fiery swipe at Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis ahead of the all-Aussie men's doubles final at the Australian Open.

Purcell and Matt Ebden have pledged to crash the 'Special Ks' party on Saturday night as they vie to become the first home men's doubles winners at the Open in more than two decades.

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And the fuse has been lit for a fiery affair after Purcell took a swipe at Kyrgios and Kokkinakis on social media on Friday.

Purcell branded his opponents "extremely disrespectful" in comments on an Instagram post from the official Australian Open account.

“Couldn’t agree more,” Purcell wrote in response to a comment from a fan slamming his opponents.

He later wrote: “All I’m saying is the way those boys are acting is extremely disrespectful to their opponents.

“I’m playing with good sportsmanship and having a good time. Not having the crowd yell profanity at my opponents and purposely distracting them in between points?”

Kyrgios and Kokkinakis have been at the centre of some raucous scenes at Melbourne Park, drawing huge crowds captivated by their extraordinary run to the final.

However the antics of some of their fans has drawn the ire of opponents, as well as pundits and fans.

Max Purcell, pictured here taking a swipe at Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis on social media.
Max Purcell took a swipe at Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis on social media. Image: Instagram

Purcell and Ebden believe pressure is on Special Ks

Before his social media comments, Purcell and Ebden had been relatively low-key in the build-up to Saturday night's final.

Flying under the radar, Ebden said he believes the intense spotlight on their opponents could work to their advantage.

"The pressure is on them for sure. They've had pressure on them their whole lives," Ebden said.

"They love the show and all that. We know exactly what they can do. We respect how they can play.

"We have to find out way to counter that, do what we do."

Matt Ebden and Max Purcell, pictured here celebrating after advancing to the Australian Open doubles final.
Matt Ebden and Max Purcell celebrate after advancing to the Australian Open doubles final. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

Which way the crowd leans on Saturday will be an intriguing sidenote, though players on both sides of the divide have been quick to play down any suggestions of a rivalry.

Kyrgios was typically straight to the point, describing the all-Australian match-up as "f***ing awesome" and highlighting other success stories - such as Ash Barty and Dylan Alcott reaching finals - as cause for local fans to celebrate.

Kyrgios won three grand slam junior doubles titles, including Wimbledon with Kokkinakis in 2013, and the Special Ks are Saturday's favourites with bookmakers.

"We know what we're capable of when we play together, playing with good energy," Kokkinakis said.

"It's going to be a really tough match. I don't know if we're favourites or not. I wouldn't say so.

"They play doubles every week. They're real polished at net, really great doubles players.

"It's obviously going to be tough but I think if we play how we've been playing, play with that energy, hopefully feed off the crowd again, play relaxed and free, we can do well."

with AAP

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