Nick Kyrgios has put to bed claims he and Alex de Minaur were “feuding” over the injured Australian star’s unavailability for recent team events.
De Minaur has twice recently expressed frustration after Kyrgios first decided against playing at the Davis Cup finals in November, and was then a late withdrawal from the United Cup, due to the knee injury that ended his Australian Open before it began.
Those comments triggered speculation that Australia’s two leading male players had fallen out, but speaking to Wide World of Sports and The Sydney Morning Herald on Tuesday, Kyrgios dismissed the rumours.
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“Me and Demon have a very special relationship,” Kyrgios said.
“I still remember him being the orange boy for the Australian Davis Cup team (back in 2015) and I was the one who said ‘I’ll hit with him’ when the tie was finished.
“So me and Demon have a great relationship.”
Kyrgios cited a fresh example of the pair’s friendship, revealing de Minaur had made a beeline for him in the players’ area of Melbourne Park after news of Kyrgios’ withdrawal had spread.
“I saw him yesterday and he came up to me and said, “I’m sorry for everything and I hope your body goes well’,” Kyrgios revealed.
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“I respect all these players, so it’s not really a big deal when I read that me and Demon are feuding or anything like that. He’s one of my close mates on tour and he always will be.”
In a wide-ranging interview, Kyrgios revisited the huge call to withdraw from his home grand slam saying that 24 hours later it was still “definitely” the right decision.
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He said his “eyes are already set” for his return to the court following knee surgery and doubted that there was any chance a setback in his recovery would force him to extend the timeline, with Indian Wells in March his planned comeback tournament.
”It’s pretty straightforward,” Kyrgios said. “There’s nothing super complicated or super complex, so I don’t think there’s anything that could be too drastic.”
He added that it was a “relief” that he could stop agonising over his injury and look ahead to his return following a trying week.
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”Obviously I was in two minds for the last week. It was so hard waking up not knowing if I was going to play, if I wasn’t going to play. I was in pain,” Kyrgios said.
“But now I feel like I’ve got a clear path moving forward, and it’s life honestly, I’ve been through a lot more struggle than this. It’s sad but at the same time I’m happy.”
Beyond Indian Wells, Kyrgios expects to follow through with a cameo on the clay court swing, having sworn off the French Open following his last appearance there in 2017.
Kyrgios has repeatedly criticised Roland-Garros and the clay court swing in general, claiming several players who were ranked inside the top 50 were imposters who made their living only because of the prominence of the unique surface in the ATP schedule.
He has been convinced to return primarily for his girlfriend Costeen Hatzi who is keen to experience Paris and reiterated that it would be included in his schedule following knee surgery.
”That’ll be something that I want to play,” Kyrgios said.
“I’ve had that in the back of my mind now for six months, you know, Cos wants to see Paris and the French Open’s there, so it’s something that I will prepare for, for sure.”
Asked if he felt he was a realistic shot of winning the Paris slam, Kyrgios was cautiously optimistic.
“Look, I haven’t played on clay and those French Open courts for like five or six years so we’ll see,” he said. “I definitely feel confident on clay, I’ve had some great wins, but look, I’m not even thinking about that at the moment.”
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