'He went missing': Nick Kyrgios unimpressed by Novak Djokovic feat

Chris Young
·Sports Reporter
·3-min read
Nick Kyrgios has paid Novak Djokovic a backhanded compliment, acknowledging his unbeaten run in 2020 while also reminding him of the Adria Tour debacle, which resulted in several players contracting coronavirus. Pictures: Getty Images
Nick Kyrgios has paid Novak Djokovic a backhanded compliment, acknowledging his unbeaten run in 2020 while also reminding him of the Adria Tour debacle, which resulted in several players contracting coronavirus. Pictures: Getty Images

Nick Kyrgios offered some rare words of praise for bitter rival Novak Djokovic on Wednesday, but it was accompanied by another stinging criticism of the Serbian star’s ill-fated Adria Tour.

Djokovic extended his 2020 winning streak to 20 matches when he easily outclassed American competitor Tennys Sandgren at the Western & Southern Open.

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Djokovic and his competitors were playing the first ATP Tour event in five months, following the coronavirus pandemic that's shut down the sport.

The Serbian had to be treated for a neck complaint during the match and seemed justifiably short of his peak fitness but managed to stave off all four break points against Sandgren in a solid tune-up for the US Open.

"I'm pleasantly surprised with the way I recovered and felt today, just overall physically, but also with the neck specifically," said the 33-year-old Djokovic.

"I'm as closest to painless neck as I can be, just maybe five to 10 per cent more and that's it. I'm feeling very good."

Djokovic won plenty of praise from the tennis world for his feat, including from Kyrgios - but the outspoken Australian still wouldn’t let him off for being one of several players to contract the coronavirus at the Adria Tour, which the Serbian star hosted in June.

“Hell of a tennis player. May go unbeaten in 2020, can’t take that away from him,” Kyrgios posted on Twitter.

“Unfortunately when he was supposed to show some leadership and humility he went missing.

“Majority would say he has taken an L regardless.”

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The 17-time grand slam champion eased into the quarter-finals of the US Open lead-up event, courtesy of a 6-2 6-4 win against American Tennys Sandgren.

The world No.1 seemed unphased by the neck pain that forced him to pull out of his doubles opener on Sunday and struggle against qualifier Ricardas Berankis in his singles second round match on Monday.

But he was clinical in his clash with Sandgren, winning 84 per cent of his first-serve points and swatting away all four break points he faced.

Novak Djokovic returns a shot to Tennys Sandgren during the Western & Southern Open. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Novak Djokovic returns a shot to Tennys Sandgren during the Western & Southern Open. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Djokovic was also unshakeable up front, winning all 11/11 net points.

The World No.1 even managed to pull off an incredible shot, where he knocked the racquet out of Sandgren's hand.

The American had consigned himself to losing the point as Djokovic smashed a bullet-like overhead shot that jolted the racquet out of the 29-year-old's grip.

Djokovic and his competitors were playing the first ATP Tour event in five months, following the coronavirus pandemic that's shut down the sport.

The Serbian had to be treated for a neck complaint during the match and seemed justifiably short of his peak fitness but managed to stave off all four break points against Sandgren in a solid tune-up for the US Open.

With AAP