MELBOURNE, Australia -- Novak Djokovic may be public enemy number one to many in Melbourne but he has found an unlikely ally in Nick Kyrgios -- and now the Australian wants them to play doubles.
The combustible Kyrgios once famously labelled the men's world number one "a tool" but he surprisingly raced to Djokovic's defence over the past week as the unvaccinated Serbian fought against deportation from Australia.
Djokovic failed and is now back home, but the 26-year-old Kyrgios hopes they can develop their newfound fondness for one another somewhere down the line.
Kyrgios has even won fans in Serbia because of his support for Djokovic -- Serbian player Dusan Lajovic jokingly called him "Nick the Serb" on Monday.
"Obviously me and Novak have had some, I guess, differences in the past," Kyrgios said after victory in the first round on Tuesday at the Australian Open.
"But, I mean, whether it was Novak or someone else, I would have done the same thing.
"I didn't do it because he was Serbian. If it was another player in that scenario, I would have stood up for what I think was right."
Kyrgios, who feels the cancellation of Djokovic's visa was poorly handled, called the Djokovic saga which dogged the build-up to the Australian Open "quite a story".
"But yeah, we got a bit of a bromance going on now, not that I'm complaining," said the Australian, who recently revealed that Djokovic had reached out to him on social media to thank him for his backing.
"I think I'm going to ask him to play doubles somewhere," he added, smiling.
© Agence France-Presse