Liam Broady has opened up on what it is like to play Nick Kyrgios on his favourite court
What is it like to play against Nick Kyrgios on his favourite court? Liam Broady has opened up on the ‘absolutely awful’ experience of being sledged and booed.
What is it like to play against Nick Kyrgios on his favourite court?
To be booed, sledged and even made to feel like a “club player.”
Fresh off an opening round beating at the hands of the king of John Cain Arena, Englishman Liam Broady gave an insight into being on the other side of the net.
“Are you ready for the disrespect out there?”
That was the question he was asked by his fellow tour professionals before taking to the court on a night Kyrgios had the crowd eating out of his hand and in an atmosphere the Aussie likened to a “zoo”.
There was an underarm tweener serve, trick shots, a sip of a beer and a hilarious post-match interview.
“Everyone is telling me, like, ‘Oh you’ll really enjoy it. It’s going to be amazing.’ But I thought it was absolutely awful,” Broady said.
“I obviously wanted to go out there and win, so, I mean, losing matches in general isn’t enjoyable.
“The atmosphere was incredible, but it’s the first time I’ve ever walked onto a tennis court and been booed, which for me was a crazy experience.
“You get sledged from the sides like you can’t believe that they don’t pick up on TV.
“So it was a very, very difficult atmosphere to try and handle, and like I said, he’s incredible at getting them behind him and he plays better for it. I think that’s very rare, especially in the sport of tennis.”
Asked if any of the sledging could be repeated, Broady laughed and said:
“Not much of it, no. I was pretty surprised at it, to be honest.”
Kyrgios won the match 6-4 6-4 6-3. The hometown hero opened his on-court interview by saying, “I served f***ing well today.”
He was right. Kyrgios blasted 21 aces and faced just one break point.
So is the behaviour really disrespectful? Not according to Broady.
“I don’t think it’s personal,” Broady added.
“If I felt like it was personal and it was malicious, then I would probably feel like he crossed the line, but as I said, I mean, our job is to entertain the people.
“Sometimes he makes you feel stupid with the shots he hits, with the underarm serves through the legs and the little lobs and the dinks and then the big hits, and sometimes you feel like a bit of a club player out there.”
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10PM: WELCOME TO THE KYRGIOS SHOW
The Kyrgios Show, starring Nick the Entertainer, is back to save the Australian Open.
The Australian tennis star whose main goal is to please was at his mercurial best on Tuesday night, torching Brit Liam Broady in a mesmerising return to Melbourne Park that had the People’s Court rocking.
It was peak Kyrgios.
And after a fortnight of Novak Djokovic dramas, and rising Covid numbers which led to slashed crowd capacity at the Australian Open, that was exactly what the tournament desperately needed.
And in wiping Broady 6-4 6-4 6-3 in under two hours, Kyrgios sets up a tantalising second-round clash with tournament favourite Daniil Medvedev – and there may be no more highly anticipated men’s match, outside of the final, this year.
Kyrgios – who sent down 21 aces in a stunning display – left no doubt as to how he felt about his serving in the straight-sets demolition.
“I served f***ing well today,” he told Channel 9 live on air.
He then went on to describe the monster he’d created, that being the People’s Court, as “a zoo” – but in an endearing way, we think.
“I don’t know what I’ve done to this crowd because you guys are a zoo now,” he laughed. “You guys are out of control. I’m just super happy to be here again.
“I know we’ve all had a tough couple of years so to be here at the Aus Open again, I’m happy to be in front of you guys. It’s so much fun.”
Kyrgios even stopped for a drink well deserved drink after his big win.
9:51PM: CAN THE DEMON FINALLY GET SOME LUCK?
Alex de Minaur was due for a change of luck.
Last year ended as a train wreck for Australia’s No. 1 player after a bout of COVID-19 forced him out of the Tokyo Olympics and then lingered causing a horror form slump.
So when the news of No. 8 seed Casper Rudd’s withdrawal because of injury was released on Tuesday, the top end of the draw opened up significantly with the potential major beneficiary being De Minaur.
With no other seeds in his section the ‘Demon’ has what seems a dream run to the fourth round. But as he found out early in his opening match, it is dangerous to look too far ahead.
At the other end of Margaret Court Arena was an exciting Italian teenager Lorenzo Musetti who showed in the opening 30 minutes that he is a star on the rise.
The 19-year-old was enjoying his moment in the big lights on his Australian Open debut, nailing everything to claim the pending set 6-3.
But with Davis Cup captain Lleyton Hewitt urging him on, De Minaur dug deep as is his trademark and slowly turned the match on its head.
In the end he was too experienced and strong for his younger opponent, progressing through after two-and-a-half hours 3-6 6-3 6-0 6-3.
The No. 32 seed will face Poland’s Kamil Majchrzak, who upset Italian veteran Andreas Seppi in straight sets, in the second round.
– Scott Gullan
9:21PM: SANDERS FALLS SHORT AGAINST SECOND SEED
Storm Sanders did everything she could for her bestie but unfortunately the biggest upset of the tournament didn’t happen.
The Aussie wildcard, who is the doubles partner and best friend of world No. 1 Ash Barty, went agonisingly close to ousting No. 2 seed Aryna Sabalenka on Rod Laver Arena.
After winning the first set 7-5, Sanders led 3-1 in the second against a rattled and erratic Belarusian who seemed on the brink of a complete meltdown.
Clearly no Sabalenka would be a major boost to Barty’s title hopes but just when all of Australia started dreaming of an upset, the match changed complexion.
Sabalenka, 23, found her radar and proceeded to win the next nine games in a row before cruising to the finish line, winning 5-7 6-3 6-2.
It was Sanders’ first appearance in the singles draw at the Australian Open since 2016 and the 27-year-old had come to Melbourne in the form of her life.
She registered a win over world No. 21 Elise Mertens in November and then won the doubles with Barty in Adelaide last week.
By contrast Sabalenka, a semi-finalist at the French Open and US Open in 2021, had been horrible in the lead-up losing to world No. 86 Kaja Juvan and world No. 93 Rebecca Peterson during two warm-up tournaments in Adelaide.
She was even reduced to serving underarm at one stage against Peterson but unfortunately for Aussie fans she found her mojo just when it mattered most on Tuesday night.
– Scott Gullan
8:45PM: KYRGIOS WINS SECOND SET
Well, the second set has gone just as the first – Kyrgios picked up a break in the opening game, then relied on his serve to entertain the crowd and obliterate Liam Broady.
He’s two sets up on John Cain Arena and having an absolute ball.
We’re being treated to the best version of Nick Kyrgios tonight.
8:42PM: BIZARRE CROWD NOISE EXPLAINED
Those aren’t boos that can be heard on John Cain Arena.
The sound being made by the crowd is ‘SIUU’, attributed to the goal celebration of current Manchester United champion Cristiano Ronaldo.
Nick Kyrgios isn’t loving it though.
He stopped to interact with the crowd about why they were making the noise. He then did his own version.
Following that, Kyrgios kicked a ball into the crowd.
8:28PM: BROADY MOMENT HAS KYRGIOS IN STITCHES
At times Liam Broady has been playing little more than a bit-part role in The Kyrgios Show – but he won the crowd over after receiving a piece of advice from the crowd to go underarm with his serve, and responding with a baulked attempt that had everyone at John Cain Arena, including Kyrgios, in stitches.
– Joe Barton
8:15PM: AUSSIE EYEING ULTIMATE OPEN UPSET
Storm Sanders is three games away from pulling off one of the craziest Australian Open upsets of all time.
The 27-year-old, who is currently ranked 128 in the world leads the number two seed Aryna Sabalenka 7-5 3-2, with a break in the second set.
This would be an upset of monumental proportions.
Sanders has never been ranked inside the world’s top 100.
8:00PM: KYRGIOS WINS OPENING SET 6-4
Nick Kyrgios has raced through the opening set of his match with Liam Broady, showing far too much power for the qualifier.
Kyrgios broke the Broady serve at his first opportunity and never looked back – crushing service winners at will.
The big question now is, can he maintain this amazing level?
7:15PM KYRGIOS DELIVERS INCREDIBLE TWEENER TRICK SERVE
Welcome back, Nick.
What a wild start we’ve had to this match, which has had a little bit of everything – from tweener serves, return winners, 220km bombs, a bit of cheek and a lot of noise.
And of course, Nick Kyrgios the entertainer has been at the heart of everything. Liam Broady, his opponent who was booed as he walked onto the court, is at best a bit-part player in this on-court theatrical.
Kyrgios broke the Brit in the opening game – cupped his hands to the crowd and exclaimed ‘I’m back’ – and never looked back, with a mindblowing opening service game of his own.
The Aussie sent Broady flying backwards with a monstrous serve at the body. His rival responded by moving a few steps back and giving himself more time. Kyrgios’ solution? A tweener underarm serve, of course.
Kyrgios leads 3-1.
– Joe Barton
7:06PM: MURRAY WINS AUS OPEN EPIC
Andy Murray has done it the hard way against Georgian Nikolaz Basilashvili, advancing to the second round in a five set epic.
With the crowd behind him on John Cain Arena, Murray went set for set with his opponent in the 6-1, 3-6, 6-4, 6-7, 6-4 triumph.
Basilashvili came back from 1-4 down in the final set to bring it to 4-4, but Murray was able to snatch the break, despite a gallant effort from Basilashvili, who saved two match points on his serve.
“It’s amazing. It has been a tough, tough three, four years,” Murray said.
“Put in a lot of work to get back here. I played on this court many times. The atmosphere is incredible. I have always had fantastic support. This is the one where I thought potentially I had played my last match three years ago, but it is amazing to be back winning a five-set battle like that. Couldn’t ask for any more.”
6:55PM: JOHN CAIN ARENA IS PACKED
John Cain Arena is already packed out in anticipation for Nick Kyrgios’ first-round contest against qualifier Liam Broady.
The court, which is the Aussie firebrand’s favourite to play at in Melbourne Park, is able to be accessed by all members of the public, and it is already full.
Unlike previous years, fans are able to virtually queue up via a QR code, but Aussie tennis fans hoping to find seats at this late stage may be left disappointed.
Those who have filed in early have been treated to a cracking prelude, with Andy Murray’s clash with Nikolaz Basilashvili deep into the fifth set.
6:30PM IS THIS THE WORST SERVE OF ALL-TIME?
Nikoloz Basilashvili has given us an early contender for the worst serve of the Australian Open.
The Georgian skied a serve off the frame against Great Britain star Andy Murray, with the ball flying high into the air at John Cain Arena.
Extraordinary. Have never seen a ball framed this badly on serve by an elite player (Basilashvili, third game v Murray)pic.twitter.com/fVlfVVG75w— Oliver Brown (@oliverbrown_tel) January 18, 2022
And it’s not the only ridiculous serve he has had in the past week.
At the Sydney International, Bashilashvili managed to hit the net chord and record a let, with the ball bouncing fortuotously into the service box at a right angle.
It’s one for the career highlights reel for Hubert Hurkacz.
6:05PM TA RELEASES STATEMENT
Following the dramatic Novak Djokovic visa saga, Tennis Australia has released the following statement.
You can read it in full below:
“Australian Open 2022 has now commenced, and our priority has always been to put on one of the world’s greatest sporting events and ensure we are delivering the best possible experience for all our players, the fans, and the community.
“The Australian Open is a showcase of Melbourne and Australia and much loved by players from all over the world.
“Tennis Australia has been working closely with both the Federal and Victorian government for the past year to deliver a COVID safe Australian Open for the players, staff, and fans.
“Embarking on a major international sporting event during a global pandemic that continues to evolve and challenge us all, is profoundly demanding for all stakeholders.
“The board and Member Associations commend the Tennis Australia CEO and the entire Tennis Australia team for their hard work and dedication to delivering a spectacular summer of tennis.
“As the Australian tennis family, we recognise that recent events have been a significant distraction for everyone, and we deeply regret the impact this had on all players.
“There are always lessons to learn, and we will review all aspects of our preparation and implementation to inform our planning – as we do every year. That process always starts once the Australian Open champions have lifted their trophies.
“Australia has a strong and proud tennis tradition, and it has been fantastic to see the crowds out cheering for the world’s best players in the lead up to and over the opening days of the Australian Open.
“We, like the players, and all tennis fans here and around the world, are keen for the focus to now be on the game we are all so passionate about.
“We are looking forward to a brilliant two weeks of tennis ahead.”
6:00PM: DIMITROV READY FOR ULTIMATE MOVIE PREMIER
There aren’t many more talented players on the tour than Grigor Dimitrov.
The Bulgarian has always played some of his best tennis at Melbourne Park and that continued today with a four set win over Jiri Lehecka.
But does he also have a future role as a movie critic?
Fresh from his win today, Dimitrov was asked if he has seen the upcoming movie on Serena and Venus Williams called King Richard.
“I saw quite a bit of it before, like way before,” he said.
“I wanted to watch it actually with them actually. But we’ll get the chance I think very soon hopefully when I head out to the States.
I’ve always admired when somebody does something like this, but I think also the timing is just perfect to do it, in a way how the whole idea came about and why they did it and so on.
“I wanted to come to the premier actually. I couldn’t make it unfortunately.
“But what all of them have been able to do, including her other sisters, I think the whole family is honestly pretty amazing.
“I for one would love to do something like that one day, whether it’s a documentary or a movie or whatever it is, but I would be very happy to try to do something similar.”
5:15PM MURRY EDGING CLOSER TO SECOND ROUND
Fan favourite Andy Murray is closing in on a place in the second round.
The multiple Grand Slam winner leads Nikoloz Basilashvili two sets to one.
Murray was in hot form coming into this year’s event, reaching the final of the Sydney International last week.
5:00PM THOMPSON CRASHES OUT OF FIRST ROUND
It has been a tough start to 2022 for Aussie Jordan Thompson, who has had his Australian Open campaign come to an early end.
The 27-year-old came up short in a brutal five-set loss to American Steve Johnson.
Thompson led two sets to one but couldn’t finish the job, with Johnson taking the final two sets 6-3 6-3.
4:47PM: MEDVEDEV FIRES EARLY WARNING SHOT
Back on Rod Laver Arena for the first time since last year’s Australian Open final defeat to Novak Djokovic, Daniil Medvedev fired his opening warning shot to rivals at this year’s tournament.
The Russian world No. 2 scorched his way to a 6-1 6-4 7-6 (7-3) win over Swiss veteran Henri Laaksonen, who grew into the match after a horror first set, to start his campaign off on the right foot.
He wasn’t at his absolute gun-slinging best, but still set centre court alight with a blistering 23-minute first set – rattling off six straight games after being broken in the opening game.
From there, Laaksonen found his range and his serve and no longer was it the cakewalk that most would have foreshadowed after the brutal opening half hour – but Medvedev was clinical in finding his path to victory.
The result takes him on the path to avenging last year’s defeat to Djokovic, even if his fierce rival jumped on a jet plan out of Australia on Sunday.
Reminders of Djokovic are dotted around Melbourne Park in the form of promotional posters – a constant reminder of what the tournament is missing, but for Medvedev they should serve only as a daily reminder of what a tremendous opportunity he has to nail a second grand slam title to add to his US Open title from last year.
“I like pressure. Definitely last year started well here in Australia, won ATP Cup, made the final here,” Medvedev said.
“It’s a really important tournament for me, I like playing here, I like hardcourt. I’d like to do better than last year but it’s not easy.”
In front of a sparse crowd at Rod Laver Arena, that couldn’t have hit 15 per cent of its capacity when the match commenced in the early afternoon on Tuesday, Medvedev showed enough to suggest that he is a worthy favourite.
At times, he produced a frightening display of cleanly hit ground strokes and the sort of tenacious defence that lifted him to last year’s Australian Open final.
But there’s more to come – with the winner of unpredictable Australian star Nick Kyrgios and Briton Liam Broady waiting for him in the second round.
4:41PM: HALEP STRUGGLES BUT SURVIVES R1
Former world number one Simona Halep laboured into the Australian Open second round Tuesday after an error-strewn clash with Poland’s Magdalena Frech which saw 11 service breaks.
The fit-again Romanian 14th seed came into the Grand Slam full of confidence after her first title in 16 months at the Melbourne Summer Set tournament this month.
But she struggled to find her groove against the 102nd-ranked Pole before banking the win 6-4, 6-3 on Margaret Court Arena to keep her dreams of a third major title alive.
“I found it so difficult today, I was unsure if I could play good tennis,” she said.
“But in the end I won and that makes me very happy. Hopefully this week I can play better and better.”
Halep, the runner-up in 2018 to Caroline Wozniacki and semi-finalist two years later, is on her way back after a truncated 2021 season when she struggled with calf and knee injuries.
4:22pm THOMPSON GOING TO DECIDER
Jordan Thompson will have to do it in five sets to become the fifth Australian to win at Melbourne Park on day two.
American Steve Johnson claimed the fourth set 6-3 in 33 minutes, after Thompson won two consecutive sets.
An enthralling fifth set awaits on Court 3. Let’s go Thommo!
3:18pm ANOTHER AUSSIE UPSET
Maddison Inglis is the latest homegrown giant killer on what’s been an incredible day for the Aussies at Melbourne Park.
The Perth product defeated last year’s US Open finalist Leylah Fernandez 6-4, 6-2 in a stunning upset, becoming the fourth Aussie to salute on day two.
3:03pm MEDVEDEV’S STEAMROLL START
— Joe Barton
Daniil Medvedev has produced a frighteningly good first set to steamroll Henri Laaksonen to kick-start his Australian Open.
The world No. 2, and clear men’s favourite in the absence of Novak Djokovic, opened his tournament to a mostly empty Rod Laver Arena – and hardly jumped out of the gates, as he was broken in the opening game.
But from there it was one-way traffic as the Russian superstar broke his Swiss rival three times to win the next six games and take the first set in just 26 minutes.
2:55pm NO. 8 SEED WITHDRAWS
JUST IN: Men’s No. 8 seed Casper Ruud has withdrawn from the Australian Open due to an ankle injury just an hour out from the Norwegian’s first-round match.
Ruud said: “I’m not at 100% and this is the best decision”. He will be replaced by Roman Safiulin, who enters the main draw as the fifth lucky loser.
The withdrawal is good news for Aussie Alex De Minaur, who was set to meet Ruud in the third round.
No.8 seed Casper Ruud rolled his ankle two days ago and is forced to withdraw from the 2022 Australian Open.— Reem Abulleil (@ReemAbulleil) January 18, 2022
2:30pm KYRGIOS CALLS OUT TOMIC ‘BULLS***’
Nick Kyrgios says he’s no guarantee to play at the Australian Open in 2023.
As he prepares for his AO 2022 push, Kyrgios says his mind isn’t made up about playing tennis next year.
“I’m not Bernard Tomic, and I won’t give you some outrageous bulls***,” Kyrgios told the Herald Sun when asked how many AO campaigns he has left in him.
“I’ll be honest and say I’m going to soak up every moment of this AO. I don’t know what I’ll be doing in a year’s time.
“But that’s the journey,” Kyrgios said. “I know my personality, I know how unpredictable I feel, I know I live spontaneously. I don’t know what I’ll be doing in a year.”
He added: “People are learning to respect that’s just my personality. It might be unorthodox, and not professional in some people’s eyes to live like that as an athlete, but it’s just who I am. It’s a fun way to live. Spontaneous.
“At the end of my career, at the end of my life, no-one can say I didn’t have fun, and I didn’t do it my way.”
Kyrgios, promoting his television and online projects with Uber Eats, said he plans to “walk around this AO, embrace every little moment, every feeling, the nerves, walking out on the court, and soak it all in.”
He also urged his mate Thanasi Kokkinakis, who won the Adelaide International at the weekend, after a horror run of injuries and illness, to do the same, and soak it all in.
“I’ve been on the phone with (Kokkinakis) the last couple of days,” Kyrgios said.
“As someone who’s seen him struggle through a lot of injuries, and setbacks … there were periods where he was going to give it away. It took him to dark places.
“For me, as a close friend, to see the success he’s having, it makes me happy. To do it in front of his home crowd, in Adelaide, it’s a special moment for him.
“I just really hope soaks it up,” Kyrgios said.
2:16pm HON OUT
— Marc McGowan
Queenslander Priscilla Hon was unable to repeat her Adelaide heroics, going down 6-2 6-3 to Czech 31st seed Marketa Vondrousova. Hon upset Vondrousova’s countrywoman and dual Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova two weeks ago in Adelaide, in a performance that earned her a wildcard.
1:45pm DOUBLE AUSSIE TRIUMPH
She’s done it!
Stosur has made up for a slow start to win 6-7, 6-3, 6-3 as her final slam continues.
Moments later, Australian wildcard Tom O’Connell took out his match against Hugo Gastin 7-6, 6-0, 4-6, 6-1.
1:29pm TWO AUSSIES UP A BREAK
O’Connell and Sam Stosur are on the path to victory, with both Aussies up a break as they approach a second round berth.
Wildcard O’Connell is up 3-1 in the fourth set, having won the first two sets over Frenchman Hugo Gaston.
Meanwhile, Stosur is 4-2 up in the third set and is looking a much improved player since dropping the opening set.
1:03pm STOSUR CLAIMS SECOND SET – FINALLY …
The huge fist pump said it all! Sam Stosur is back in her first round match of her final grand slam — but it didn’t come without some nervous moments.
Serving for the set, 37-year-old and her opponent American wildcard Robin Anderson went to seven deuces, before Stosur — finally — put the lengthy game to bed, taking it out 6-3.
Can she take that momentum into the decider?
Never. Gives. Up. ð¤— Wide World of Sports (@wwos) January 18, 2022
Sam Stosur seals the second set with an ACE after a tense ten-minute arm wrestle ð weâre going the distance! #AusOpen - Live on Channel 9 and 9Now pic.twitter.com/fNkwDrUke3
12:33pm AUSSIE FUMES IN STRAIGHT SETS LOSS
Aussie Daria Saville has gone down in straight sets 6-2, 6-3 to her Swedish opponent Rebecca Peterson as her frustrations spilled over.
Nearing the end of the second set, Saville sat down and threw her racquet into the bench at the change of ends and appeared to have some words for the chair umpire.
Meanwhile, two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova has been knocked out in straight sets as her form slump continues.
Petra Kvitovaâs tough form continues as she loses 6-2 6-2 to Sorana Cirstea in the first round. Low energy, struggling to put the ball in play by the end. 39 UEs.— Tumaini Carayol (@tumcarayol) January 18, 2022
Kvitova is now 11-11 since Wimbledon and her slam results since the beginning of 2021: 2R, 2R, 1R, 3R, 1R pic.twitter.com/yAWSFffEpo
12:05pm ‘CLASSLESS’ STAR SLAMMED
Dayana Yastremska is never from controversy and she has been up to her usual tricks at the Australian Open, bowing out in the most controversial of ways.
The world No. 144 was up against American Madison Brengle in round one – a match whihc should have been hers for the taking.
Trailing 6-1 0-6 5-0 in the final set, having already had a toilet break and a medical timeout, Yastremska retired.
Why didn’t she just finish the match I hear you ask.
It’s a good question. One working theory is she didn’t want to suffer a double bagel.
Never far from controversy, Yastremska made headlines for all the wrong reasons 12 months ago after travelling to Australia depite being banned for testing positive to a banned substance.
Her gamesmanship has often been questioned – even by her peers with Caroline Wozniacki once accusing her of faking an injury.
Omg what a classless move by @D_Yastremska— The Gambling Tailor (@TheGambleTailor) January 17, 2022
Especially in a grand slam
11:54am PLAY HAS STARTED
It’s Australia Day at the Open with players 15 in action.
Hasn’t started all that well but there is time for it to build!
Daria Saville is a set down in her clash against Rebecca Peterson (2-6) while Sam Stosur is battling back on the Kia Arena.
Stosur, contesting her final Aus Open, is back at 4-4 in the first having trailed 4-1.
Come on Sammy, one more big one!
11:43am DJOKER RAGES OVER VISA TALK (sort of)
Of course it’s been edited, but it’s too good not to share.
In the annual Australian Open game of Guess Who, a brilliant editing job has been done to the Novak Djokovic video.
Andy Lee, the face of the game, is sat opposite the world No 1 as their game gets underway.
It takes Lee just one question to ascertain he is Djokovic.
“Do I have a legitimate reason to stay in the country?” Lee asks as Djokovic looks uncomfortable.
After a long pause, comes the answer. “No.”
As Lee flips down the players on his board only to be left with one, the Serb flies into a rage and throws the game and table across the room.
Just to be super clear, this video has been edited and is for entertainment value only!
11:20am ROWDY CROWDS
By Joe Barton
There are plenty of Australians in action at Melbourne Park today – and the home fans will be in full voice trying to get more local hopes into the second round.
But just what impact can a rowdy home crowd have?
Based on the evidence of Monday’s matches, it can be good and bad.
Ashleigh Barty would’ve beaten Lesia Tsurenko whether the match had been played in Kiev or Mars, let alone on Rod Laver Arena, but in the men’s draw John Millman and Thanasi Kokkinakis had vastly differing reactions to the boisterous crowds.
While Millman grew an extra leg with the support of the fans at Margaret Court Arena, Kokkinakis struggled mightily against German qualifier Yannick Hanfmann – who later said the Australian was “taken off guard” by the vocal nature of the crowd.
“Unbelievable feeling because the walk in on the court was something I think maybe in soccer matches you have it sometimes, but this was a much smaller court and the atmosphere that the crowd brought today was incredible,” Hanfmann said.
“I mean, I walked on court and I asked Thanasi ‘what the hell is going on here?’. And I think even he was a bit taken off-guard.”
Kokkinakis was rolled in straight sets, an inglorious first-round exit from a talented baseline warrior who picked up his first Tour-level title in Adelaide last week and arrived in Melbourne with great expectations.
Millman, however, secured his first grand slam victory in 17 months – with the backing of the Melbourne locals.
His opponent, Spanish veteran Feliciano Lopez, appeared to become frustrated as fans made noise between serves but later praised the atmosphere that was created.
Certainly Millman appreciated it.
“Hopefully I can get a bit of a rowdy crowd and a crowd that gets behind me in my next one (against Alexander Zverev),” he said.
Nick Kyrgios openly says he plays for the fans, rather than necessarily just for titles or personal success, and is sure to whip up a frenzy on John Cain Arena tonight when he opens his tournament against Brit Liam Broady.
One things for sure – he won’t be overwhelmed by the occasion. The People’s Court is his arena.
10:45am CRAIG’S LOST YEARS OFF HIS LIFE
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It’s been a tough few weeks for anyone caught up in the Novak Djokovic saga.
The world No 1 aside, perhaps TA CEO Craig Tiley has copped a hellish few months, years in fact.
Track back to midway through 2020, the world is in the grip of a pandemic and as the lead organiser of a grand slam, people want answers. What’s going to happen?
2021 Aus Open was in doubt, but Tiley and his team pulled it off. It was miraculous given the hoops they had to jump thorugh.
And now the last few months. The pandemic continued and new laws came into play which would impact who could come.
Tiley’s still standing.
He’s got the sympathy of the playing group and the support.
Alexander Zverev gave him a shout out last night (Monday).
“I think Craig Tiley has lost, I think, a few years of his life over the last two years,” he said.
“But is doing an incredible job. I mean, to make the event happen last year when the country was completely closed, and to make it happen this year again is one hell of an effort. I think he deserves a lot of credit.”
9:45am BLAME GAME CONTINUES
Djokovic might be back home but the blame game over the visa debacle continues.
Jim Courier has come out firing this morning, firmly in defence of Craig Tiley who has not been heard from in a fair while.
Speaking to Ch9, Courier said: “Tennis Australia did their job. Their job is to try and help the players gain entry to the tournament. Tennis Australia is not the government. They do not issue visas.
“They do not allow players to cross borders so I don’t know that you can lay this at the feet of Craig or Tennis Australia.
“Their job is to work this wonderful tournament thrive. Unless some underhanded things happened which we’re not aware of, which I highly doubt, knowing Craig and his integrity. I don’t think there is any more fault to be laid at the feet of Tennis Australia.”
8:55am WHAT MADE JELENA CRY?
Jelena Dokic was moved to tears during her interview with Ash Barty on Monday night, but what was it that moved her so much?
The former player turned commentator was charged with interviewing the world No 1 after her first round demolition of Ukrainian qualifier Lesia Tsurenko, and it was clear how much the moment meant to Dokic.
“I want to first congratulate you on your Wimbledon win. I think I speak — not I think, I’m sure — I speak for everyone here, everyone in Australia, around the world, particularly myself — thank you,” Dokic said.
“You gave us so much joy watching that last year. You made us so proud. I get goosebumps right now. I just want to hug you but I can’t.
“There are no words to describe what you’ve done so thankyou for that.
“Now I’m going to lose all my questions.”
Dokic nailed the interview and earned wide praise for wearing her heart on her sleeve.
Barty too was faultless both in her match and interview.
8:20am ULTIMATE MELTDOWN
We all love a tennis tantrum right? I missed this one yesterday in all the mania, but it’s a cracker. In fact there’s a lot to unpack from this match involving Aus Open 2021 semi-finalist Aslan Karatsev.
Not known for emotional or rage-filled outbursts, the Russian star smashed a ball into the crowd (likely went out the rood and landed somewhere on Rod Laver Arena), smashed a racquet and copped code violations in his first round, near five-hour epic against Spain’s Jaume Munar.
That’s not all. The match stats are EYE POPPING.
En route to the second round, Karatsev hit 107 unforced errors and 87 winners compared to his opponent’s 24 winners and 35 unforced errors.
I suppose the only offering of assurance one can give him (besides the fact he didn’t lose) is that I’m reliably informed that six years ago, Novak Djokovic also hit 100 UEs on his way to a 6-3, 6-7(1), 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 win against Gilles Simon in the fourth round.
So there’s that.
7:55am THANK YOU IMODIUM
Italian Matteo Berrettini battled stomach cramps and frequent trips to the toilet before winning his way through to the second round of the Australian Open on Monday.
The seventh seed held on to beat American Brandon Nakashima in a three-hour-10-minute struggle 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (7/5) 6-3 on Margaret Court Arena.
Berrettini, who lost to Novak Djokovic in last year’s Wimbledon final, called the trainer after losing the opening set but rallied to take the match in four sets.
Berrettini scrawled “Imodium grazie!” on the courtside camera lens after completing his victory, but not until after making three emergency toilet breaks during the match.
“I’ve been feeling sick with my stomach, let’s say that,” Berrettini said. “It was really hard to play, especially the third and fourth set.”
7:30am GOOD MORNING
It’s day two of the tennis and day 15 of the Djokovic debacle. Plenty of news to get to on both fronts.
Here the snapshot:
Djokovic’s participation at other slams is in doubt after new vaccine mandate laws brought in
Djokovic is facing the prospect of losing sponsors
Aussies had a great day 1
Barty is in scary good form
Kyrgios plays today as do 8 other Aussies
Tournament favourite Medvedev gets his campaign started today as well.
Originally published as Liam Broady has opened up on what it is like to play Nick Kyrgios on his favourite court