Nick Kyrgios delivers another shot at long-time sparring partner Novak Djokovic.
Reigniting his ongoing feud with the world No. 1, Kyrgios has reiterated his assertion Djokovic will “never” be the Greatest Of All Time in his view.
Why does Kyrgios continue to discount Djokovic in the GOAT debate?
Because 17-time Grand Slam champion Djokovic is winless in two career clashes vs. Kyrgios.
“No matter how many Grand Slams he wins, like he will never be the greatest to me,” Kyrgios told Melbourne Herald Sun. “Simply because I’ve played him twice and, I’m sorry, but if you can’t beat me, you’re not the greatest of all time.”
Kyrgios v Djokovic is alive and well!
— Herald Sun Sport (@heraldsunsport) January 19, 2021
It’s not the first time Kyrgios has derided Djokovic in the GOAT debate.
In June of 2019, Kyrgios gave a rare, even-more-candid-than-usual interview to Ben Rothenberg of the New York Times for Rothenberg’s tennis podcast, “No Challenges Remaining,” and the Aussie did not hesitate to speak his mind about the game’s top players.
Kyrgios owns a 2-0 lifetime edge against Djokovic but both of those victories came during a period in 2017 when the Serb was a little bit lost, both mentally and physically. The explosive Aussie has also called Djokovic’s heart-sharing post-match celebration “cringeworthy” and has vowed to perform the celebration in front of the Serbian should he win their next meeting.
“No matter how many Grand Slam wins he will never be the greatest for me,” Kyrgios said. “Simply because I’ve played him twice and I’m sorry but if you can’t beat me you’re not the greatest of all-time.
“He always says what he feels like he needs to say, never speaks his opinion—I don’t know. If I play him and I beat him—I’m doing his celebration in front of him. That would be hilarious, right?”
Eight-time Australian Open champion Djokovic has taken the high road in response to Kyrgios’ taunts.
“What can I say to Nick Kyrgios,” Djokovic said in comments published by Sasha Ozmo of Sportsklub.rs in 2019. “I really think he’s not really a bad guy. I do not know why he declares all these things, whether he wants to draw attention or some motive is different.
“He obviously wants to be honest, open, transparent, that is part of his character. I respect him, respect anyone, what can I do? I do not have a problem with that, he can speak whatever he wants. Does it show respect as most others point out? No. It’s his own way of communication and relationships, but I really do not think he’s a bad guy.”
Kyrgios’ latest criticism come after he branded Djokovic “a tool” for his recent suggestions on behalf of players confined to Melbourne’s hard quarantine.
Still, Djokovic said Kyrgios’ criticism is “not something that keeps me awake at night.”
“No, absolutely not, everything is at the level of communication through the public,” Djokovic said when asked if the pair had spoken privately. “I really tried my life to respect everyone and I did not have anyone like that …
“Let’s say the problem, though, it’s not something that keeps me awake at night, as the English say.”
Photo credit: AP