Novak Djokovic explains how he and Nick Kyrgios went from enemies to friends

Kyrgios and Djokovic didn't like each other very much but then everything changed two and a half years ago.

by Dzevad Mesic
Novak Djokovic explains how he and Nick Kyrgios went from enemies to friends
© Getty Images Sport - Daniel Pockett

Novak Djokovic admits he was asking himself why Nick Kyrgios was going at him and adds that there was a point when he wanted to end his silence and ignite a conversation with the Australian tennis star but then the whole Australia visa gate happened and their relationship changed forever. 

For years, Kyrgios was taking shots at Djokovic and some of them were pretty nasty, like saying that the Serbian tennis star was doing certain stuff just because he wanted "to be liked as Roger Federer." 

"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 a couple of years ago.

However, this wasn't the lone case of Kyrgios harshly calling out Djokovic as on one occasion the Australian called the Serb "a tool."

But when Djokovic found himself detained in 2022 January, Kyrgios was one of the loudest in the criticism of the Australian authorities. At the time, Kyrgios was publicly defending Djokovic and stating that he wasn't being treated fairly by the authorities from his country. 

That moment changed everything as since then Kyrgios and Djokovic have had a great relationship and have become somewhat of friends. And to no one's surprise, Djokovic accepted to be a special guest on Kyrgios' recently launched 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 on his podcast.

Djokovic responded: "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."

Nick Kyrgios and Novak Djokovic
Nick Kyrgios and Novak Djokovic© Getty Images Sport - Julian Finney

Djokovic to Kyrgios: You stood up for me 

After Djokovic was detained in Australia, it quickly became one of the biggest storylines - not only in tennis but in the entire sports world. But since it was a tricky topic and the Australia visa gate was linked to Djokovic not being vaccinated, many players simply decided the best for them to keep their mouths shut and not address the situation. 

But Kyrgios wasn't interested in keeping his mouth shut as he was called out the Australian authorities over "a really bad" treatment of Djokovic. 

At the time, Djokovic had a massive appreciation for Kyrgios' gesture. Today, Djokovic still has deep level of appreciation for Kyrgios siding with him when he was going through one of the most challenging periods of his career.

"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," Djokovic told Kyrgios on the podcast.

Nick Kyrgios and Novak Djokovic
Nick Kyrgios and Novak Djokovic © Getty Images Sport - Graham Denholm

Djokovic's family was also extremely grateful to Kyrgios

During the Australia visa saga, Djokovic's family was also very vocal from Belgrade as they were staging protests and trying to draw attention to what was happening to the Serbian tennis star in Australia. When asked about Kyrgios' gesture, the entire Djokovic family was grateful to Kyrgios for speaking out in Djokovic's defense at the time. 

Then a couple of months later, Djordje Djokovic was a guest on a Serbian show when he went a step further in showing gratitude to Kyrgios, inviting the Australian to Belgrade to be his special guest. 

"I want to bring Nick Kyrgios to Belgrade, to thank him for supporting Novak, Belgrade and Serbia. He is an entertainer, he doesn't mince his words and he will always express his opinion, whatever it may be. But above all, he is a serious athlete and tennis player. I hope that he will come to the Serbia Open before he finishes his tennis career;" Djordje Djokovic said on a Serbian show in 2022 May. 

Nick Kyrgios
Nick Kyrgios © Getty Images Sport - Ryan Pierse

Six months after the Australia visa saga, Kyrgios and Djokovic met in the 2022 Wimbledon final. In what was a highly-entertaining final, Djokovic came back from a set down to beat Kyrgios in four sets.

Novak Djokovic Nick Kyrgios