Eurosport tennis expert Alex Corretja has said that Sunday’s Wimbledon final between Novak Djokovic and Nick Kyrgios will be ‘explosive’, while Mats Wilander believes the two are better friends than ever.
Djokovic and Kyrgios have had a fractured relationship on tour, with the Australian accusing the Serb of lacking leadership during the Covid-19 pandemic, and saying the 20-time Grand Slam winner had a ‘sick obsession with wanting to be liked’.
Djokovic, meanwhile, has lost both of his previous encounters with the Australian, leading Kyrgios to say he therefore cannot be considered ‘the greatest of all time’.
Ahead of their Wimbledon final clash, Kyrgios claimed the two now had a ‘bromance’, and while Djokovic was ‘unsure’ whether they deserved that label, seven-time Grand Slam champion Wilander believes their relationship is ‘better than ever’.
“Djokovic and Kyrgios have a better relationship now than they’ve ever had before,” he said.
“Publicly, I think, they were needling each other a bit. Nick was needling Novak on social media. I take all that with a [pinch] of salt to be honest. You have friends in the locker room for a couple of years, and then you become friends with somebody else.
“They have a good sense of humour. it’s interesting that they are publicly talking about [their relationship].”
Former French Open finalist Corretja agreed that the two were friendlier, but expected fireworks at the ‘second best final’ crowds could have asked for.
“For Novak, it was more like, ‘we are friends, yes, but relax, we’re [competing in] the final of Wimbledon…. don’t make me feel like I need to play against my brother!'” said Corretja.
“It [will be] an explosive final. You have Novak Djokovic – the world No. 3 – versus Kyrgios. WWen [choosing who to watch, of course you’d watch] Djokovic [as] the world no. 1, and then [without] Nadal, Kyrgios is probably the [next] best [thing]. He’s always going to bring so many stories; he’s going to serve well, he’s going to play well, and it’s going to be interesting.”
Wilander was also quick to praise Kyrgios for stepping up to the plate to reach his first final, but believed the Australian would have preferred to have played his semi-final against Rafael Nadal which he won on default after the Spaniard was forced to withdraw through injury.
“This is a huge step [for Kyrgios],” Wilander added.
“I would have assumed that he would have liked to have played Rafael Nadal. Imagine the difference for Kyrgios of having to beat Rafael Nadal, knowing that Djokovic is waiting in the final….. that would have been] a huge mountain, but of course now, it’s just the one match [that stands in his way] against Novak Djokovic.”
And Wilander was excited at the prospect of the first underarm serve at a Wimbledon final, a specialist of Kyrgios’ in recent years,
He said: “Nadal-Djokovic [would have been] unbelievably exciting, but we have expectations when they play. But this match?” I don’t have any expectations because I have no idea how Nick Kyrgios is going to react in the final. I have no idea how he’s going to serve…. whether he’ll] hit tweeners… have we ever seen an underarm serve in a Wimbledon final? No! I’m telling you, no.”