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Kyrgios and Kokkinakis Doubles Run into Semifinals Delights Australia

By Erik Gudris | Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis are delighting Australian tennis fans with their surprise run to the men’s doubles semifinal at this year’s Australian Open.

But the joyful run almost came to a screeching halt.

Kyrgios and Kokkinakis faced off against No. 6 seeds Michael Venus and Tim Püetz in their Tuesday quarterfinal. During the first set, Kyrgios slammed a ball into the ground after a let call on Kokkinakis’ serve in the fourth game. Kyrgios hit the ball so hard that it bounced up into the stands and hit a young boy in his stomach.

Former world No. 13 Kyrgios winced and later admitted he thought he might ejected from the match right then. Chair umpire Eva Asderaki-Moore checked on the kid to be sure he was not badly injured. Kyrgios himself also checked on the kid and handed him one of his racquets as an apology.

The Australians went on to win the match 7-5, 3-6, 6-3 to reach their first ever career major semifinal.

Kyrgios and Kokkinakis, despite bowing out early in the singles, have enthralled the local fans with their high intensity doubles right from the start. The pair knocked out the top seeds Mate Pavic and Nikola Mektic in straight sets in the second round.

So far, they have played all their matches in the intimate 7000 seat Kia Arena that has been packed with vocal Australian fans.

Kyrgios, despite his often love/hate relationship with the sport and sometimes the fans, believe he’s now coming into his own as a player. More so to enjoy the sport rather than focus on trying to win major titles. Kyrgios spoke about why he feels he and Kokkinakis’ teaming up has resonated so much with the Melbourne crowds this year.

"I know that over the years i haven't been the best role model but I was just learning how to deal with everything and i think now at 26 i've matured and I definitely realized that a lot of young kids and people, even people that are low on confidence, they do look towards us when we go out there," Kyrgios said. "We're not special people, we're normal humans that you might see walking in Australia. I think we're just relatable, that's what's the best thing about it."

"Tennis has always had personalities, I've said this before but I think they just struggled to understand that there are different ways to go about it.

"You've got Roger Federer and these guys that are just once in a generation athletes. I can't be like that, we're not like that, there has to be people that are a little more relatable."

Kyrgios and Kokkinakis are not sure yet if they will team up again for future events including the upcoming majors later this year. They will next face No. 3 seeds Horacio Zeballos and Marcel Granollers.

Photo credit: Getty