Nick Kyrgios did much more than simply reach the third round and feud with Novak Djokovic at the 2021 Australian Open. Here is a recap of all the drama sparked by one of the most electrifying men in tennis.
The 25-year-old from Canberra always makes plenty of noise, loves to entertain the fans and have fun on the court - and he certainly delivered on all three counts once more at Melbourne Park.
From continuing his tempestuous tiff with world number one Djokovic, showboating, rowing with umpires and competing in two classic encounters on a packed John Cain Arena, he sure packed in plenty of drama inside the first three rounds of the event.
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'Tell your girlfriend to get out of my box!'
Kyrgios was as hot-headed as ever during his first-round match against Frederico Ferreira Silva at the Australian Open. In terms of the pure tennis, he did everything he needed to do in
sweeping aside Ferreira Silva in straight sets
, 6-4 6-4 6-4, in fairly straightforward fashion.
But between points, he let rip with his camp and let out his frustrations on his supporters' box early in the match,
asking to have one member of his entourage removed
Tell your girlfriend to get out of my box!
'Tell your girlfriend to get out of my box!' - Kyrgios lets rip mid-match
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'Are you guys awake?'
At another stage in the match against Ferreira Silva, he again berated members of his box for apparently not giving him sufficient support.
Are you guys awake, or... are you awake? Are you awake?
"Don't watch if you're just going to sit there. Said one thing for two games. Unbelievable."
'Are you guys awake?' - Watch Kyrgios get angry with his box after point
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Tweener winner? Sure...
Kyrgios was also at times in a playful mood as he made it through to the second round, and he delighted the crowd with an audacious tweener winner.
Kyrgios delights crowd with audacious tweener winner
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Djokovic a 'very strange cat' It did not take long for Kyrgios to hit back at Djokovic
after the world number one said he had no respect for the Australian off the court.
The comments came from Kyrgios after both players won their first-round matches, and represented another escalation of the ongoing feud between the pair.
"It's very strange to me as to why he would say he doesn't respect me off the court. I actually do a lot off the court," he began.
He's a very strange cat, Novak is. Heck of a tennis player, but unfortunately someone that's partying with his shirt off during a global pandemic, I don't know if I can take any slack from that man. That's as bad as it gets for me.
'That's as bad as it gets for me' - Kyrgios hits back at 'very strange cat' Djokovic
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'Nadal and Djokovic aren't close to Roger'
Kyrgios has played each of the 'Big Three' multiple times, so he seized the opportunity to
pile in with a judgement on the endless 'GOAT' debate
- and he declared it's Roger Federer.
Oh, and he also added for good measure that he found Andy Murray a tougher opponent than Djokovic.
"Talent-wise, just purely based on talent the way Federer plays, his hands, his serving, his volleys, untouchable," he said.
I actually think talent-wise Nadal and Djokovic aren't even close to Roger.
"Me personally, I played them all. I actually think Andy [Murray] for me was tougher than Novak to play. I mean, I have only played Novak twice. I have played Andy six times and I'm 1-5."
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'Reset the machine!'
The Australian got embroiled in numerous rows with the umpire during his heated - and, quite frankly, incredible -
second-round match against France's Ugo Humbert
"It was this high over the net!" Kyrgios, who later received a point penalty for continued violations, fumed to the umpire after she called a let in the first set.
'Reset the machine!' - Kyrgios gets into row with umpire
"Reset the machine, because the ball was this high over the net!
Look at the replay! Look at the replay! It was this high over the net. Obviously something is wrong. So reset the machine!
That incident was swiftly followed by some classic Kyrgios racket-hurling as the crowd on John Cain Arena laughed.
'That racket won't see another day!' - Kyrgios loses his cool
"That racket won't see another day!" mused Chris Bradnam on commentary for Eurosport at the time.
The 25-year-old continued to complain bitterly about the net device as the match wore on into a fifth set, repeatedly ranting about it "ruining the game".
'It's ruining the game!' - Kyrgios furious with umpire
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'One of the craziest matches ever'
Conducting the post-match interview, Jim Courier described the raucous affair as "the best tennis has sounded since the pandemic".
And speaking to Eurosport after the unforgettable encounter,
Kyrgios said it was "one of the craziest matches ever"
as he rallied to win despite a raft of blow-ups along the way.
'I'm still in awe, I don't know what to feel' - Kyrgios after Humbert epic
In the third round, Dominic Thiem was left stunned as Kyrgios, playing up to another wild crowd on John Cain Arena,
hit an ace with an audacious underarm serve to win the second set
Bradnam, on commentary for Eurosport, declared, "It's happened!", when Thiem was unable to respond to the underarm serve that left him rooted to the spot.
It had to happen one day, it's happened today!
'It's happened!' - Kyrgios aces Thiem with underarm to win second set in style
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'So Azarenka's grunt is fine, but mine's not?'
Kyrgios was left furious with the umpire after being warned for causing a noise hindrance after one point against Thiem, and compared his grunting to Victoria Azarenka's in a bizarre rant.
Are you nuts? So you say that's hindrance, but some people's grunts aren't hindrance. So Azarenka's grunt is fine, but mine's not?
'So Azarenka's grunt is fine, but mine's not?' - Kyrgios furious at umpire
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Kyrgios and Kokkinakis get warning BEFORE match
While his singles run may have been ended by Thiem in their five-set epic, Kyrgios took to the doubles court with partner Thanasi Kokkinakis.
Well, before they could even get to the court, they got a time violation
"But we were waiting for you to say, 'Time'," argued Kyrgios. "So you can't just give us a warning? You can just say, 'Are you guys ready?', or?
Nah, you're doing a good job! Very good.
'Good job!' - Kyrgios and Kokkinakis get warning BEFORE match
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'Too good' - Victory sealed by firing ball out of stadium
What's the most Kyrgios way to celebrate winning a first-round doubles match? Why, by launching a ball out of the court, of course.
'Too good' - Kyrgios wins doubles match with ace, fires ball out of stadium
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'He's just thrown me under the bus!'
"I don't know, there was actually a bit of talk out there today, tactical wise," Kyrgios said, in response to Kokkinakis suggesting there was, "One per cent tactical" communication between them.
Well I'm a taken man, so he was talking to me about girls most of the time!
"What?!" Kokkinakis hit back.
He's just thrown me under the bus right here!
"But that's not true," he continued, his face suddenly bright red. We were just having fun. It was definitely more just rubbish."
'He's just thrown me under the bus!' - Kyrgios embarrasses Kokkinakis with 'girls' comment
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Kyrgios mocks Djokovic with celebration
Anyone who thought the Australian was done attempting to wind up Djokovic in their tempestuous spat was very much mistaken.
While he and Kokkinakis ultimately lost their second-round doubles match, Kyrgios managed to grab headlines by
mocking Djokovic's famous celebration while walking out on court
Kyrgios mocks Djokovic with celebration before doubles match
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'I don't like him at all'
In his final press conference of the tournament after defeat in the doubles,
Kyrgios parted with one last barb in his ongoing war of words with Djokovic
to make his stance clear, if it wasn't abundantly so already.
When asked about his mock celebration, Kyrgios said sarcastically: "Just feeling the love. Just trying to spread the good word of the celebration. Everyone loves that celebration. It’s well liked.
We’re just having some fun. Novak, I’m sure, doesn’t like me and we both have respect for each other, but I don’t like him at all, so it’s fun.
'I don't like him at all' - Kyrgios reignites Djokovic feud
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He may have only reached the third round, but Eurosport experts
Tim Henman and Mats Wilander
each gave glowing assessments of Kyrgios's value to the sport and talent.
The home fans just wish he could have stayed in the mix at Melbourne Park for a bit longer.
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