Nick Kyrgios dudded at Australian Open after ugly tennis 'disgrace'

Nick Kyrgios and Ajla Tomljanovic have both fallen victim to the controversy that plagued the tennis world in 2022.

Nick Kyrgios and Ajla Tomljanovic, pictured here ahead of the Australian Open.
Nick Kyrgios and Ajla Tomljanovic have copped tricky draws for the Australian Open. Image: Getty

Nick Kyrgios and Ajla Tomljanovic have copped tricky Australian Open draws after both fell victim to the controversy that engulfed Wimbledon last year. Tomljanovic fell one place short of securing an all-important seeding and she is slated to face Sofia Kenin or Victoria Azarenka in the second round as a result - both former Australian Open champions.

In-form 10th seed Madison Keys is likely to await in the third round, while Tomljanovic could also face sixth seed Maria Sakkari in the last 16. If she makes it that far, the Aussie women's No.1 would likely play World No.3 Jessica Pegula in the quarter-finals.

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As for Kyrgios, he did manage to secure a seeding but was still lumped with a treacherous run. The 19th seed looks likely to face eighth seed Holger Rune in the third round and fourth seed Andrey Rublev in the round of 16, while nine-time champion Novak Djokovic awaits in the quarter-finals.

The lack of a seeding is particularly brutal for Tomljanovic after she withdrew from the United Cup recently with a knee injury. She was on track to be ranked inside the top 32 in the world before the injury saw her drop two places in the rankings on the same day the seeds were settled for the Australian Open.

She and Kyrgios will also both be cursing their luck after they became victims of the lack of rankings points on offer at Wimbledon last year. The ATP and WTA made the extraordinary decision to strip Wimbledon of rankings points after the All England Club banned players from Russia and Belarus in retaliation to Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine.

Kyrgios made a scintillating run to the final where he lost to Novak Djokovic, while Tomljanovic made it to the quarter-finals. However neither received any rankings points for their efforts, and ended up falling in th standings because they couldn't defend the points they'd earned the year prior.

Kyrgios would be ranked inside the world top 10 if he'd received his points from Wimbledon, while Tomljanovic would certainly be seeded at Melbourne Park. Both would have easier draws at the Australian Open as a result.

Nick Kyrgios, pictured here after the Wimbledon final in 2022.
Nick Kyrgios didn't received any rankings points for making the Wimbledon final in 2022. (Photo by Simon Bruty/Anychance/Getty Images)

Wimbledon 'disgrace' rears its ugly head again

The saga surrounding Wimbledon was widely condemned at the time, with many slamming the All England Club over their 'disgraceful' move to ban Russian and Belarusian players. “In my view this sort of behaviour is an absolute disgrace to the game and sport's neutrality in general," said Samir Taktak, director of the neighbouring Kingston Riverside Tennis Club.

“It seems like we have lost our moral compass when we start dictating how sports personalities and players should think. We seem to dictate that players need to accept our narrative or be punished for thinking differently – this is not a democracy but autocracy.

“Sports should be neutral and no citizen should be punished for the actions of their government regardless of whether you think such actions are justified or otherwise. Banning Russian players from tennis does not punish their government.”

Ajla Tomljanovic and Nick Kyrgios, pictured here at the premiere of Netflix series 'Break Point'.
Ajla Tomljanovic and Nick Kyrgios at the premiere of Netflix series 'Break Point'. Image: Getty

Speaking on Thursday, Kyrgios was unfazed by his tricky draw. "Well, I am one of the best players in the world," he said. "So I'm definitely gonna go into the Australian Open, any tournament, with confidence."

Aussie men's No.1 Alex de Minaur, who landed in the same quarter as Kyrgios, said: "I normally don't really like to look at the draw. I like to just know who my first-round opponent is and that's about it and then we go from there.

"Ultimately my draw always kind of gets spoiled because of media, because they always like to look ahead. But I'm the type of person that likes to take it day by day, so I don't get too far ahead of myself."

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