Australian tennis player Nick Kyrgios and the US tennis great John McEnroe, who won seven Grand Slam singles titles, used to throw insults at each other.
However the firebrand pair ( Kyrgios mirrors McEnroe’s confrontational on-court behaviour) have become firm friends since teaming up at the Team World Laver Cup (see the hilarious video below).
It was clear after the 24-year-old Australian beat Italian Lorenzo Sonego 6-2 7-6 (7-3) 7-6 (7-1) in the First round of the Men’s singles at the Australian Open that Kyrgios and McEnroe, commentating for TV, had an affection for each other.
— Nicholas Kyrgios (@NickKyrgios) January 2, 2020
“I was just really excited to get out here. Obviously a pretty emotional couple of months for all of us, so I just wanted to come out and put on a good performance,” said Kyrgios.
“This is my favourite court in the world …. I feel super comfortable. You guys are the best. I feel the support.”
Then McEnroe warmly praised Kyrgios for how he has spearheaded the fundraising effort for those affected by the bushfires.
“The way you’ve led the way for the bushfire relief thing and everything you’ve done, I’ve got to tell you, well done man,” McEnroe said.
“Absolutely outstanding effort and I know a lot of people share the same view but I just wanted to tell you personally that I’m proud of you.”
Kyrgios said “you’re going to make me tear up again” before McEnroe took up the challenge.
“I just want to say that from this point forward I want to donate AU$1,000 to the bushfire relief fund for every set you win for the rest of this tournament,” he said.
“Good luck for the rest of the tournament and I hope you go a long way, buddy.”
Kyrgios shook his head in appreciation and revved the crowd up further as it cheered McEnroe’s pledge. Then the Aussie put his hand on McEnroe’s shoulder and tried to respond but couldn’t find the words.
“I don’t know what to say,” the #1 Australian tennis player said.
It’s beautiful to watch.