Ever the showman, Nick Kyrgios played up to the empty stands and seized one last opportunity to mock Novak Djokovic before exiting stage left at the Australian Open.
Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis’ doubles act made a second-round exit on Sunday as the Australians ran into a different set of ‘Special Ks’ – fourth seeds Wesley Koolhof and Lukasz Kubot – losing 6-3 6-4.
But before proceedings kicked off, Kyrgios and Kokkinakis made a great show of waving and pointing to the empty stands as they entered Margaret Court Arena, before Kyrgios took the opportunity to jokingly imitate Djokovic’s “heart throwing” post-match celebration.
Kyrgios dramatically threw out his arms to the absent crowd multiple times when he reached the court – then after putting his bag away, put his racquet by the net and doubled down on the gestures.
“Just feeling the love. Just trying to spread the good word of the celebration,” Kyrgios said of the imitation post-match.
“Everyone loves that celebration. It’s well liked.”
Djokovic and Kyrgios’ bad blood is longstanding, with the pair trading barbs through their respective press conferences earlier in the tournament.
Both Kyrgios and Kokkinakis said they were trying to have some “fun” and “banter” to get themselves up for a match without a crowd.
“We’re just having some fun,” Kyrgios said.
“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.”
But while the world No.1 was preparing for his fourth-round singles match, scheduled for Sunday night, Kyrgios was making his last stand of the tournament alongside good friend Kokkinakis.
“I feel like me and Thanasi carry a bit more weight than some of the other players, we’re in a bit more of a spotlight,” Kyrgios said.
“So I found a bit of relief when I lost the other night.
“Not saying I wanted to, but I just wanted to have some fun today with Thanasi and we did that, too.”
Kyrgios had been the tournament’s biggest drawcard and entertainer in the singles, but when push came to shove on the doubles court, it was Koolhof and Kubot who took centre stage.
When trailing at 2-3 in the opening set, Kyrgios had his second service game broken and Koolhof and Kubot kicked on from there.
Kyrgios received treatment on a stiff back in the break between sets, but fronted up for the second.
Kokkinakis had his serve broken early in the second set and Kubot and Koolhof seized control.
But even trailing 5-4, Kyrgios and Kokkinakis giggled and chatted away before Koolhof casually served out the match to end the Australians’ campaign.
The fourth seeds will next take on another pair of Australians – Matthew Ebden and John-Patrick Smith – in the third round.