In a heartwarming display of sportsmanship and camaraderie, Australian Open champion Jannik Sinner took a moment to extend an unexpected vote of confidence to the sidelined Nick Kyrgios, urging the tennis maverick to make a grand comeback to the court.
Sinner, who clinched his first Grand Slam title in Melbourne on Sunday night after an extraordinary five-set comeback against Daniil Medvedev, took a moment to express his admiration for Kyrgios.
The 22-year-old, basking in the glory of his triumph, insisted that the sport needed Kyrgios back in action.
“I think, what’s for sure, everyone is missing you,” Sinner told Kyrgios.
“You are this kind of player you don’t see around so often. Your game style, your way how to behave on court, and those kind of things, you are different, no? And this kind of player we need.
“So I hope you are getting back – I’m missing you. It was a great emotion to see you after my second-round match, so I hope to see you back as soon as possible.
“And, also, you are potential grand slam champion – and I think you know it, so keep it up.”
Kyrgios, visibly moved by this unexpected tribute, acknowledged the difficulty of making a comeback but recognised Sinner’s unstoppable potential after his sensational victory.
“It gives you an insight on how he is. He just wins the biggest title of his life and he’s very humble, a super nice guy. He just shows incredible maturity,” Kyrgios said.
“And you can just already tell that he’s got his sights on something else. He wants to keep achieving these amazing things and go after more slams – he’s not satisfied.
“I could feel from him that he’s ready to keep going and he’s going to be around for a long time.
“I think we’re gonna see him win plenty more slams in the next couple of years. Now he got this one, he’s just going to be unstoppable.”
Despite Sinner’s kind words of encouragement, a return to the court for Kyrgios is looking more and more unlikely after Kyrgios recently hinted, once again, at the possibility of hanging up his tennis racquet.
“I sat down with my agent, Stuart Duguid, a couple of days ago to talk about my future,” Kyrgios wrote in a piece for the Sydney Morning Herald.
“The reality is, there is a part of me that knows my time in the sport may be over. And I’m OK with that.
“It’s a conversation that needed to be had. I’m at a crossroads in my career and have reached a point where life after tennis is a prospect that excites me.”
Kyrgios has rarely graced the tennis court since withdrawing from last year’s Australian Open due to injury.