Nick Kyrgios has seized on his opportunity to reignite an infamous eight-year-old tennis rivalry, with a cheeky social media post about compatriot Thanasi Kokkinakis' upcoming French Open clash with Stan Wawrinka. The Aussie meets Wawrinka in the second round at Roland Garros after ending his eight-year drought on the Parisian clay on the opening day.
Kokkinakis and Wawrinka have history of course, with the Aussie at the centre of a swipe from Kyrgios at the Swiss player that has gone down in tennis folklore. Kyrgios infamously sledged Wawrinka during a match at the Canadian Open in 2015 by saying: "Kokkinakis banged your girlfriend."
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Wawrinka was dating fellow tennis player Donna Vekic at the time, and Kyrgios appeared to be suggesting there was some history between her and Kokkinakis. Kyrgios was widely condemned for his actions and was later hit with a $35,000 fine, while also incurring the wrath of his Swiss rival.
“To stoop so low is not only unacceptable but also beyond belief,” Wawrinka wrote afterwards. “So disappointing to see a fellow athlete and colleague be so disrespectful in a way I could never even imagine," adding that the comment from Kyrgios was something he “would not say to my worst enemy”.
That infamous soap opera may have happened eight years ago but any suggestions it was all water under the bridge have been sensationally answered with Kyrgios' latest tweet. Reacting to the mouthwatering match-up between his good mate Kokkinakisa and the 2015 French Open champion, Kyrgios reminded anyone who was interested to get the popcorn ready for some expected fireworks.
"KOKK V STAN .. LFG HAHAHAHAHA CMONNNNN…. this is what we live for," Kyrgios tweeted in a typically over-the-top manner. "Stan don't wanna lose this one," he added alongside a series of starry eye emojis, buckets of popcorn and a guy peeping through his fingers.
KOKK V STAN 👀👀👀🍿🍿🍿🍿LFG HAHAHAHAHA CMONNNNN…. this is what we live for……. Stan don’t wanna lose this one
— Nicholas Kyrgios (@NickKyrgios) May 30, 2023
Kyrgios - who was forced to pull out of the French Open because of injury - didn't really need to remind Kokkinakis or Wawrinka about how big their second round match on the Simonne-Mathieu showcourt is. Back in 2015, Kokkinakis was the teenage starlet set for great things as he breezed into the third round of Roland Garros, while Wawrinka was in his pomp, going on to win his second major there.
Thanasi Kokkinakis and Stan Wawrinka prepare to face off
Today, though, older and very much more battle-scarred, Kokkinakis is still trying after all these years to reach another third round of a slam at 27, while three-time slam winner Wawrinka is attempting to rekindle old glories at the ripe old age of 38. The Swiss, having battled through a five-setter to beat Albert Ramos Vinolas on Monday, said: "It's going to be an interesting match, for sure.
"I know him (Kokkinakis), saw him play many, many times. When he's healthy, like he's been this year, he's always a dangerous player. He's been playing well."
Kokkinakis was also full of prises for a man "whose ball-striking is still up there with the best" but can't imagine he'll ever have the sort of durability that keeps Wawrinka still plugging away. "I know whenever I'm out there, I'm going to try my nuts off and try and compete as hard as I can, because the way I think about is, I know I can't do this forever," Kokkinakis said.
"You never know but I find it hard to see myself playing like these guys that are playing sort of past 35, 36. I envy those guys able to play week in, week out." Kokkinakis is hoping that in his 18th career grand slam match he can finally match his one and only last-32 appearance from 2015.
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