Nick Kyrgios isn’t just locked in to play the Australian Open, he’s going to warm up with a showdown against nine-time champ Novak Djokovic.
Tennis Australia boss Craig Tiley confirmed Kyrgios, who has been battling an ankle injury, would take on Djokovic this Friday night in an exhibition match “extravaganza”.
Tickets will be sold for the match, which could pack out Rod Laver Arena, with all proceeds going to charity.
The pair squared off in the 2022 Wimbledon final, won by Djokovic, who revealed a fondness for Kyrgios due to his support of the Serbian during last year’s deportation drama.
Tiley, who made the announcement on Monday morning, has been in communication with Kyrgios’ team and been given assurances the Australian, who dropped out of the United Cup at the last minute, would be ready to go.
Friday’s match will also be Djokovic’s first at Melbourne Park since he was forced out of last year’s tournament and deported amid a Covid vaccination saga.
After winning the Adelaide International on Sunday, Djokovic declared he held “no grudges” over last year’s saga and had received nothing but love since his arrival in Australia.
Tiley has repeatedly said he was confident there would be no backlash once Djokovic arrives in Melbourne and reiterated that on Monday, confident his return on Friday night would be celebrated.
“He really enjoyed the experience in South Australia and he was welcomed … he loved it there,” Tiley said.
“I love that our fans are sporting fans and are among the most educated and appreciate greatness. They appreciate players like Novak that have won this event nine times.
“Novak is back and I’m pretty confident that the Melbourne fans – similar to the experience he had in Adelaide – will be just as good.”