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29 Jan, 2022 14:16

Aussie bad boy duo seal unlikely Grand Slam after getting fan kicked out

Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis claimed a famous hometown Grand Slam doubles win - but typical to form, it didn't come without some controversy
Aussie bad boy duo seal unlikely Grand Slam after getting fan kicked out

Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinaki, who entered this year's Australian Open men's doubles field as wild cards, have completed a famous win against compatriots Matthew Ebden and Max Purcell in what has been a momentous day for tennis in Australia.

The cheers from Ash Barty's win in the women's final an hour or two beforehand had barely stopped reverberating around the Rod Laver Arena when it came time for Kyrgios and his doubles parter Kokkinaki, players who have been embroiled in controversy for much of the tournament, to cement a straight sets win by a score of 7-5, 6-4.

'Special K', as the childhood friends have become known in some circles, become the first Australian pair to win the title on home soil since a pair known as the Woodies - Mark Woodforde and Todd Woodbridge - did so a quarter of a century ago, and it comes nine years after they triumphed in the Wimbledon junior doubles tournament.

True to form Kyrgios, whose box office billing would list him as perhaps the sport's most outspoken character (though Daniil Medvedev has given him a run for his money in the last couple of weeks), was again caught up in some headline-grabbing antics.

He requested that a particularly raucous fan be ejected from the arena when Ebden and Purcell were serving to stay in the match, but he and Kokkinaki did manage to restrain themselves from the type of antics which prompted a Medvedev tirade earlier this month, or which led to the coach of the Croatian top seeds Mate Pavic and Nikola Mektic allegedly challenging the pair to a dressing room fight.

"Nick I love you brother," Kokkinaki announced afterwards. "Man, I can honestly say we did not expect to even come close to this but with the help of you guys all week it has been unbelievable. The coverage it got and the support it got, the coverage, we couldn’t ask for anything more."

Kyrgios, meanwhile, said that the win was a "dream come true" - particularly because of who was alongside him to help him claim it.

"I wouldn’t want to do it with anyone else," he said. "Max has been to a finals twice and Matty has had a hell of a career. I’m just super happy. I don’t even know how we are doing this or what is going on right now to be brutally honest."

The famous win, 25 years in the making, came swiftly on the heels of Barty's triumph just beforehand where she became the first Australian to win a singles title at the event.

Tennis Australia, the governing body for the sport, had an undeniably rough month given the scandal which engulfed them regarding Novak Djokovic's visa issues, medical exemption and subsequent deportation.

Tennis in Australia, by contrast, is flourishing.