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Nick Kyrgios delights at Novak Djokovic's return to the Australian Open

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Nick Kyrgios delights at Novak Djokovic's return to the Australian Open

Nick Kyrgios is delighted with Novak Djokovic’s return to the Australian Open and insists the young guns need to overcome the all-conquering Serb to add legitimacy to the Grand Slam titles: ‘He has to play at all costs’

  • Nick Kyrgios has backed Novak Djokovic’s return to the Australian Open
  • Djokovic saw his three-year ban overturned, meaning he could play in January
  • Kyrgios said Djokovic’s presence adds legitimacy to the tournament
  • The Australian was beaten by the Serb at Wimbledon earlier this year

Nick Kyrgios has backed Novak Djokovic’s return to next year’s Australian Open, insisting his presence adds legitimacy to the tournament.

Djokovic endured a nightmare trip Down Under this year when he was deported from Australia over a row over his vaccination status, only to see his three-year travel ban overturned.

It means the 21-time slam champion has the chance to add a tenth Australian Open victory to his impressive haul of trophies when the tournament begins next month.

Nick Kyrgios was delighted with Novak Djokovic's return to the Australian Open in January

Nick Kyrgios was delighted with Novak Djokovic’s return to the Australian Open in January

Kyrgios was one of the few figures in tennis to defend Djokovic during the deportation saga and despite missing Wimbledon this year because of the 35-year-old, he insists his presence at every slam is essential.

‘I think Novak needs to play at all costs,’ said Kyrgios.

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‘He’s one of the best of all time and as long as he plays and hangs around, we need him in these tournaments.’

Djokovic missed Melbourne Park as well as the US Open this year due to his vaccination status, and those slams were won by Rafael Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz respectively.

Djokovic will perform in Melbourne after being deported due to his vaccination status this year

Djokovic will perform in Melbourne after being deported due to his vaccination status this year

Kyrgios said the Serb's presence adds legitimacy for the winners of major tournaments

Kyrgios said the Serb’s presence adds legitimacy for the winners of major tournaments

Alcarez’s win in New York was his maiden slam title, but Kyrgios said the Spanish teenager’s legitimacy as a true tennis superstar would only be enhanced if he could see Djokovic on his way to major titles.

‘I think, as a competitor, I would like to see him there,’ Kyrgios said of Djokovic.

‘And if I win a tournament, if you don’t go through Novak, you know the tournament isn’t really a tournament.’

Kyrgios was due to face the Serb in Dubai this week, but the 35-year-old was forced to pull out because he was unwell.

‘I’m pretty excited to play Novak, because the Wimbledon final and all that, would love to go there and have fun with him,’ Kyrgios said.

‘But he’s got to take care of his body and obviously he’s got a big few months coming up with a lot of expectations, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he doesn’t feel 100 per cent to get out there.’