“That was a big surprise”: Novak Djokovic on ‘burying the hatchet’ with Nick Kyrgios after Aussie backed Serb during Covid-19 vaccine row in Australia

Nick Kyrgios (L) and Novak Djokovic
Nick Kyrgios (L) and Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic looked back on burying the hatchet with colleague Nick Kyrgios. The two players talked about their journey from being foes to friends in a recently released episode of the Aussie's Good Trouble With Nick Kyrgios podcast.

Djokovic and Kyrgios locked horns thrice on court, with the latter leading the head-to-head 2-1. Kyrgios defeated the Serb twice in 2017 at Acapulco and Indian Wells while the Serb's sole victory came in the final of the 2022 Wimbledon Championships.

The duo went through a rocky phase in their relationship in 2019 when the Aussie said that he couldn't stand the Serb and suggested that he had a "sick obsession to be liked".

"I just feel like he has a sick obsession, wanting to be liked. He just wants to be like Roger. He just wants to be liked so much that I just can't stand him," Kyrgios said on the No Challenges Remaining podcast as quoted by Express.

However, a few years later, in 2022, the Aussie backed Djokovic's stance against vaccination during the visa controversy ahead of that year's Australian Open which led the Serb to be deported.

Kyrgios and Djokovic recently spoke about how they buried the hatchet and became friends in a recently-released episode on the former's podcast "Good Trouble with Nick Kyrgios".

"I asked the questions from the fans, I’ll start there, they said, ‘How did you guys actually bury the hatchet?’ Because there was a bit of turmoil. How did we actually get over that and become friends," Kyrgios said (at 2:55).

The World No. 1 replied by talking about the controversy in Melbourne, adding that he was surprised Kyrgios stood up for him.

"I don’t know what I have done to cause that kind of behavior, yours towards me but it was interesting to follow that for a couple of years. A part of me was like, ‘Don’t answer, don’t get involved.’ And you were pushing all the buttons man and then I thought to myself, ‘I really wanna speak to him’, because I don’t know what I have done. I’m boring to him.
"So then, two years ago, the thing happened what happened here in Australia for me, I don’t wanna go back but, I had a tough time. And you stood up for me, you stood up for me, that was a big surprise."

Novak Djokovic tells Nick Kyrgios: "You were one of the very few colleagues on the tour that stood up"

A photo from the Australian Open 2022
A photo from the Australian Open 2022

Further, during the same conversation, Novak Djokovic revealed that Nick Kyrgios was one of the very few colleagues to speak up for him during the vaccine debacle that led to the Serb's deportation from Australia in 2022 before the Melbourne Major.

"You were one of the very few colleagues on the tour that stood up, that used his platform, used his voice to support and that’s something I’ll never forget and since that moment, our relationship has gotten better," the 36-year-old told Kyrgios (at 3:55).

Kyrgios had called out the authorities in his motherland for handling the Covid-19 crisis poorly.

"It’s just a sh*t show. It's not even about the vaccination anymore. I feel so sorry for him [Djokovic]. I just think if Australia had dealt with Covid better, I don’t think this would be such a big issue. Imagine how he's feeling. He probably wants a little bit of support from other players. He’s getting it from me," Kyrgios said on the No Boundaries podcast in 2022.

Djokovic recently competed at the Italian Open, where he reached the third round before losing to Alejandro Tabilo.

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