Novak Djokovic puts feud aside with major Nick Kyrgios admission

·Sports Editor
·4-min read
Nick Kyrgios and Novak Djokovic,. pictured here after a match in Mexico in 2017.
Nick Kyrgios and Novak Djokovic after a match in Mexico in 2017. (Photo by Miguel Tovar/LatinContent via Getty Images)

Novak Djokovic has paid Nick Kyrgios a major compliment, putting aside their nasty feud for the time being.

Kyrgios has seen his lethal serve hailed by two of tennis' greatest modern players - Djokovic and Andy Murray.

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World No.1 Djokovic and three-time grand slam winner Murray both listed the Australian's booming serve as one of the deadliest in the game, ranking it alongside that of American big-hitter John Isner.

Murray and Djokovic, both in enforced confinement during the game's shutdown amid the coronavirus pandemic, shared a fascinating Instagram Live chat on Friday, where they discussed their rivalry along with a host of other subjects on the game.

They chewed the fat over some of the classics in their 36-match series, painful losses and even came up with the perfect tennis player.

Novak Djokovic, pictured here serving at Queen's in 2019.
Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray both complimented Nick Kyrgios' serve. (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images)

And when comparing notes on their rivals' strengths, world No.40 Kyrgios’ serving prowess was name-checked by both stars.

Djokovic’s admission comes after an ugly back-and-forth between himself and Kyrgios over the last 18 months following the Australian’s unprovoked verbal attack on the World No.1.

“I just feel like he has a sick obsession with wanting to be liked,” Kyrgios told the No Challenges Remaning Podcast in 2019.

“He just wants to be like Roger. For me personally — I don’t care right now, I’ve come this far — I feel like he just wants to be liked so much that I just can’t stand him.”

The pair have since taken subtle swipes at each other, with the latest instalment seeing Kyrgios appear to troll Djokovic from the stands during the ATP Cup in January.

Andy Murray reveals painful French Open regret

Murray and Djokovic were unsurprisingly complimentary, picking each other as the best returner and having the best backhand.

Murray said Rafael Nadal's forehand was the toughest and Djokovic picked Swiss legend and 20-time grand slam winner Roger Federer's.

They were also in agreement on which player is mentally the toughest - Spanish idol Nadal.

“It's like going on court to face Gladiator,” Djokovic said.

Kyrgios, who is good friends with Murray, also joined in the online banter by messaging the Briton as he waited for Djokovic to sign in to the live link-up.

Murray then revealed his French Open final defeat to Djokovic is the one result against his great rival he would like to change, despite finishing runner-up five times at the Australian Open.

“Australia has been pretty painful for me thanks to you over the years but if I could change one I would take the French Open off you,” he said.

One of the duo's most famous battles was the 2016 final at Roland Garros, where Djokovic won in four sets after Murray had taken the lead.

Murray added: “I obviously would have loved to win the Australian Open or the French Open, but as a challenge for me, because clay was such a tough surface for me throughout my career.”

Murray has won 11 of their 36 meetings, including the semi-final of the 2012 Olympics on his way to gold. And despite his loss, that was one of Serb legend Djokovic's favourite duels with Murray.

“I felt like I played well overall, but you beat me in the London Olympics in the semis, 7-5 7-5,” Djokovic said.

“Of course I was devastated when I lost because it was Olympic Games, but I was happy with the way I played.”

Murray, trying to salvage his career after hip surgery at the start of 2019, admitted he wished he had enjoyed his successes more.

“After the issues I've had the last few years, I sometimes do wish I had enjoyed those moments more. When you see the end coming you think... I should have enjoyed the wins or even the losses that were great matches.”

With AAP