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"If Nick Kyrgios thinks he's in the professional rivalry with Novak Djokovic, he has another thing coming" - Ian Healy

Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic
ANALYST
Modified 15 Feb 2021
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Former Australian cricketer Ian Healy recently weighed in on the ongoing spat between Novak Djokovic and Nick Kyrgios. While reacting to a newspaper headline labeling Kyrgios and Djokovic as 'fierce rivals', Healy opined that his compatriot is nowhere close to being a rival of Djokovic on the court.

Ian Healy was a distinguished wicket-keeper batsman for Australia back in the day. The 56-year-old represented his nation for over a decade in international cricket, accumulating over 6000 runs in the process. Healy was particularly renowned for his skill behind the stumps, having effected a then-record 395 dismissals in Test cricket.

Now, Ian Healy hosts a radio show with journalist Pat Welsh called ‘Breakfast With Pat & Heals’. It was on this show that Healy broached the Novak Djokovic-Nick Kyrgios topic.

The former cricketer believes that Nick Kyrgios - who recently admitted to disliking the Serb - doesn’t have any noteworthy achievements to be spoken of in the same breath as Novak Djokovic. According to Healy, the rivalry between Djokovic and Kyrgios exists only in the personal sphere.

"Someone wrote in the paper today, about what’s his name, Djokovic and Kyrgios - calling them fierce rivals," Healy said. "They’re not fierce rivals. They might be personal rivals, but if Kyrgios thinks he’s in the professional rivalry with Djokovic he has another thing coming. Fierce rivals? Djokovic shouldn’t even know Kyrgios’ name at the moment. That’s the shame of it, that Kyrgios is having a crack without credibility."
Nick Kyrgios, after losing to Dominic Thiem
Nick Kyrgios, after losing to Dominic Thiem

Ian Healy then moved on to Nick Kyrgios’ match against Dominic Thiem, where the World No. 3 staged a phenomenal comeback after losing the first two sets. Healy opined that Kyrgios would have won the match if he had invested more effort into it in the final three sets.

"He should have flogged Thiem," Healy continued. "Two sets down, little bit more application there, you win either the third or the fourth then you’ll go deep in this tournament. He must be kicking himself, Nick Kyrgios."

Are Novak Djokovic and Nick Kyrgios only personal rivals and not professional ones?

Novak Djokovic has never defeated Nick Kyrgios
Novak Djokovic has never defeated Nick Kyrgios
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There is not even a sliver of doubt that Novak Djokovic is light years ahead of Nick Kyrgios when it comes to winning titles (or being the superior tennis player). However, there is a small hole in Djokovic's CV when it comes to his head-to-head against the Aussie.

Nick Kyrgios leads Novak Djokovic by a margin of 2-0 in their head-to-head, having defeated the Serb twice in 2017 (Acapulco and Indian Wells). Unsurprisingly, Kyrgios often brings up this statistic to negate Djokovic’s claims of being the 'GOAT'.

The World No. 1 is yet to break Kyrgios’ serve, let alone winning a set against the Australian. In Acapulco, Kyrgios won 7-6(9), 7-5, and in Indian Wells he registered a 6-4, 7-6(3) scoreline.

In the two matches combined, Novak Djokovic managed to create just one break-point, which he failed to convert. So all things considered, Ian Healy may not be entirely correct in saying there is no professional rivalry between Djokovic and Kyrgios.

Published 15 Feb 2021, 23:28 IST
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