Australian Open: For food's sake, Kyrgios still plotting walk-off grand slam title

By Sports Desk January 13, 2023

Nick Kyrgios insists he is serious about being ready to quit tennis the minute he wins a singles grand slam title.

The Australian went close last year to ending his long wait, only to lose in four sets against Novak Djokovic in the Wimbledon final.

Now aged 27, Kyrgios wants to achieve glory at a major to satisfy that urge, before stepping off the court for good. If it comes at the Australian Open over the coming fortnight, it will be all the better for him.

Asked whether he stood by his previous comments, Kyrgios said: "A hundred per cent. It's a lot of training, a lot of work, and I just want to be able to eat whatever I want, drink what I want to drink and just relax.

"It's a hard lifestyle, the dedication these guys show day in day out. I did a bit of that last year, had a great year to show the world I'm still one of the best.

"I'm going to try to do it this year, and hopefully I can do it, but it'll be hard."

Kyrgios is ranked 21st by the ATP, but that can be considered a false position, given he collected no points for his career-best Wimbledon run. The tours stripped the London slam of ranking points due to its banning of players from Russia and Belarus.

The 1,200 points Kyrgios would ordinarily have taken away from the All England Club would have nudged him towards a top-10 placing.

There is the tantalising prospect of Kyrgios facing nine-time Melbourne Park champion Novak Djokovic in the Australian Open quarter-finals this year, and they went through a light-hearted dress rehearsal on Rod Laver Arena on Friday.

Speaking after that exhibition match, Djokovic said Kyrgios' two wins from their previous three tour-level encounters meant the sky was the limit for the man from Canberra.

"He is 2-1 against me, so as far as I'm concerned he can win anything," said Djokovic.

According to Djokovic, Kyrgios had been unaware of the potential for a meeting between the pair in the Australian Open last eight.

Serbian Djokovic has done his homework though, and appears to have mapped out his potential route to what would be a record-equalling 22nd men's singles grand slam title.

"I have to be honest, I think most of the guys are studying the draw pretty seriously, but you have to take it one match at a time," Djokovic said, speaking on Channel Nine.

"We think every player has so much motivation and inspiration to be able to play his best in the court, to perform well, so you cannot underestimate anybody, you cannot take any match for granted.

"It's a hopefully long two weeks. I know Nick and I are in the same part of the draw – he didn't know that by the way. Before the match I told him."

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