Novak Djokovic's offer to Nick Kyrgios amid Australian Open concerns

The tennis superstar has extended an offer to his Aussie rival amid concerns over Kyrgios' fitness for the Australian Open.

Novak Djokovic and Nick Kyrgios, pictured here before the Wimbledon final in 2022.
Novak Djokovic and Nick Kyrgios look on before the Wimbledon final in 2022. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

Novak Djokovic has reportedly offered to face Nick Kyrgios in a practice match, with the Aussie star's chances of getting on the court before the Australian Open dwindling. On Wednesday night it emerged that Kyrgios has withdrawn from the Adelaide International due to an ankle injury, meaning he looks likely to head into the Australian Open without playing a lead-up event.

Kyrgios had earlier withdrawn from Australia's team at the United Cup, revealing he'd picked up the injury while playing at an exhibition event in Dubai in December. He hasn't played a competitive match at ATP level since Tokyo in October.

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According to The Age, Djokovic has offered to play Kyrgios in a practice match so he can get some court time ahead of the Australian Open. The Kooyong Classic in Melbourne has also offered Kyrgios a spot in their draw.

Kyrgios and Djokovic have formed somewhat of a bromance in recent months after the pair collided in the Wimbledon final. Kyrgios recently revealed he was planning to play doubles with Djokovic at Indian Wells in March if the World No.5 is allowed back into the United States.

But it looks like the dream pairing won't come to fruition after authorities in the US extended a vaccination mandate for foreign visitors to April. A statement from the Transportation Security Administration said the requirement for foreign air travellers to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 would be in place until April 10.

With Indian Wells set to take place from March 6-19 and the Miami Open scheduled for March 20-April 2, Djokovic is at serious risk of missing the ATP's two major hard-court tournaments.

Novak Djokovic, pictured here after beating Nick Kyrgios to win the Wimbledon title in July.
Novak Djokovic beat Nick Kyrgios to win the Wimbledon title in July. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

Nick Kyrgios' lack of match practice ahead of Aus Open

Adelaide International organisers said in a statement on Wednesday night: "The Adelaide International can confirm that Nick Kyrgios will not compete in Week 2 of the tournament. The event is clearly disappointed in this decision as would be the fans who support him, but injury happens and health is always the priority.

"The Adelaide International wishes Nick Kyrgios the best of luck and a quick recovery, understanding the importance of the Australian Open preparation. He is welcome back to the Adelaide International anytime."

Kyrgios' manager Daniel Horsfall hit out at the World No.22's critics and told The Age that the decision was made in consultation with physiotherapist Will Maher. Horsfall added there is ‘no doubt’ Kyrgios will be fit to play the Australian Open starting on January 16.

“We are very excited and working every day to make sure we’re ready for the Australian Open,” Horsfall told The Age. “A lot of people were upset after he pulled out of the United Cup, but I hope they now realise the injury is genuine. I wish more people would ask questions before putting in their two cents.”

Kyrgios told the Sydney Morning Herald last week: "Anyone who plays professionally knows, for sure (what it takes to be ready for a grand slam). Anyone outside of that wouldn't have a great understanding.

"Going deep or not, winning a match at a grand slam level is not an easy task. People underestimate the pressure and the nerves with being a part of one of the biggest tournaments of the year.

"Throw in an injury and knowing you didn't give yourself the best chance only adds to the mountain of pressure you face. So feeling good physically is important."

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