Australian Open 2021: Nick Kyrgios adds fuel to fire in budding off-court rivalry with Novak Djokovic

A cheeky Nick Kyrgios has continued his war of words with rival Novak Djokovic, mocking the world No.1's signature post-match celebration in front of an empty arena in Melbourne. 

Kyrgios and double partner, Thanasi Kokkinakis, dropped out of the hunt for Grand Slam glory on Sunday, but it was the charismatic Aussies pre-match work that turned heads. 

The 25-year-old mocked the Serbian tennis ace when walking onto Margaret Court Arena in a clear ploy to get under the skin of the defending Australian Open champion.

The two have had a running feud for more than two years, trading several verbal rallies off court.

"Just feeling the love," Kyrgios said when asked about his pre-match routine on Sunday.

"Just trying to spread the good word of the celebration. Everyone loves that celebration. It’s well-liked."

Nick Kyrgios and Novak Djokovic
Nick Kyrgios and Novak Djokovic Photo credit: Images - Channel Nine & Getty
Australian Open 2021: Nick Kyrgios adds fuel to fire in budding off-court rivalry with Novak Djokovic
Photo credit: Getty

Kyrgios continued to light the fire, making it clear he has no love for his budding foe.

"We're just having some fun. Novak, I’m sure, doesn’t like me and we both have respect for each other, but I don’t like him at all, so it’s fun."

Kokkinakis - a fellow Australian - had his own thoughts about Djokovic earlier in the week, questioning the Serbs claims he is playing through the tournament with a  side strain.

"For me, I have no idea what he’s feeling or what he’s going through," Kokkinakis said.

"I just heard he thinks he has a torn muscle. I didn’t mean it in a bad way at all.

"I'm like, if he can recover from a torn muscle in two days, hats off. Teach me.

"But I don’t know – because I knew some Serbian fans would take that in a negative way – and I copped abuse for it, but it wasn’t even taking a shot at him.

"If he actually has a torn muscle and can recover in two days, that’s impressive, because I haven’t been able to do that and it's taken me months."

Djokovic a path through to the quarter-finals in Melbourne with a four-set fourth-round win over Candian Milos Raonic on Sunday night.