Novak Djokovic confused by rules of Nick Kyrgios charity match as officials intervene


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Novak Djokovic was left confused when he learned that he was playing a fast 4-scoring format against Nick Kyrgios in their pre-Australian Open exhibition match. The unlikely duo planned to play a practice match together and it was turned into an “arena showdown” with tickets sold to raise money for charity. But Djokovic was thrown off by the format as officials gave him a sheet of paper explaining the rules.

Djokovic and Kyrgios are doing battle for the first time since their Wimbledon final last year as both men prepare for the Australian Open with a charity practice match. But it appeared that the world No 5 hadn’t been fully informed of the rules for Friday morning’s exhibition clash as he was left confused by the fast 4 format, including no lets and a tiebreak at 3-3.

After expressing his surprise at the no let rule during the coin toss, organisers quickly made sure that the nine-time Australian Open champion was up to speed as James Bracey, the emcee of the clash, brought him a sheet of paper explaining the rules. “I didn’t get my memo before the match,” he said.

“It’s good to see there are some rules that are different.” The 35-year-old also experimented with some trick shots, throwing in a tweener and attempting an underarm serve, and joked: “I’ve been channelling my inner Nick Kyrgios with my serving.”

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Ivanisevic added: “I have a flight at 10:45, Emirates, so I am okay, just watch and go.” Djokovic was clearly enjoying himself on his return to Rod Laver Arena, as he continued to have fun throughout the second set by shaking his bum while waiting for a return and dancing during a changeover.

But the match also had some significance for the world No 5 as it marked his first on Rod Laver Arena since before he was deported from Australia last year. Djokovic had previously shared his hopes of getting a good crowd reception and was left emotional when he received an ovation during his walk onto court for the charity match, saying: “Thank you so much, I’m a little bit emotional right now to be honesty. I’ve been looking forward to coming back to this court.”



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