Actually, the racket was coming from an Australian Open men’s doubles quarterfinal. Headline Act? ‘Special K’, otherwise known as Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokinakis.
The Australian wildcard pair have blown fans into a frenzy during their unexpected journey to the semi-finals of their home Grand Slam, thanks to an emphatic 7-5 3-6 6-3 quarterfinal victory over Tim Puetz and Michael Venus at the Kia Arena. With is at its peak. Tuesday.
Doubles arguably has an odd place in the tennis world—singles events are consistently prioritized in both prize money and coverage—which makes the attention and praise that both are becoming more influential.
Yet for Kyrgios and Kokinakis, their relationship with the crowd is a symbiotic one, and forms the basis of their motivation to perform.
“This Australian Open, honestly for us, it’s more about the people – playing for them is more important than our doubles success, Kyrgios said.
“We haven’t set a goal of what we want to achieve in doubles this year, I just want to play and give a show to the people of Australia and the Australian Open and really try to develop the game of tennis.” .
“So I’m playing, and I know Thanasi is just enjoying it – it’s the most fun experience I’ve ever had on the court.
“The thrill for us is honestly getting out there. It sounds silly but we worry about what will happen after the match,” Kokinakis said.
“The support we have received and then every time we go there the crowd goes crazy and how much they are enjoying it, it keeps us going and motivates us to do better for them.”
tears and cheers
A perfect encapsulation of the pair’s connection to the Melbourne crowd—as well as Kyrgios’ enigmatic personality—came early in the first set of the quarter-finals when the 26-year-old ruthlessly threw a returning dead ball into the crowd. service tax.
The ball hit a child, bringing tears to his eyes, causing Kyrgios to cover his mouth in shock.
After a brief conversation with Kokinakis, Kyrgios stood up to apologize to a boy who—though still slightly watered—now brandished a smile, a new racket, and a monster school. Story to share.
The warm applause from the crowd was a response that ‘Bad Boy of Tennis’ didn’t always get.
Yet this couple’s race has really fired up Kyrgios and there can be little doubt which side of the “love-hate” crowd this year falls on – especially the throng of young fans who flock to the pair at Melbourne Park. Packed in the game.
“There’s no way around it, me and Thanasi are definitely role models for the youth in Australia, we clearly attract that crowd,” Kyrgios said.
“I know I haven’t been the best role model over the years, but I was just learning how to deal with everything and I feel like I’m 26 now and I definitely realize It happened that a lot of young children and people – even those who lack confidence – look at us when we go there.
“We’re not special people, we’re just normal human beings that you can see walking around Australia… I think we’re just relatable, that’s the best thing about it.”
For the 26-year-old Krigios, difference is the keyword for his place in the game.
“Tennis has always had personality, I’ve said this before but I think they struggled to understand that there are different ways to go about it.
“You have Roger Federer and these guys who are just once in a generation athletes – I can’t be like that, we’re not like that, there should be people who are a little more relatable.”
Potential aside, Krygios and Kokkinakis are putting on a once-in-a-generation spectacle at the Australian Open – just spare a thought for Melbourne lovers of peace and quiet, should they go all the way.