Tennis great Pat Cash has lashed Tennis Australia for its ticketed exhibition match between Nick Kyrgios and Novak Djokovic, accusing the governing body of bending its rules for the Aussie.
Friday’s match against Djokovic, labelled an “extravaganza” by Australian Open boss Craig Tiley, will be Kyrgios’ first of the summer after he withdrew from both the United Cup and Adelaide International 2 to rehab an ankle injury.
The clash between Djokovic and Kyrgios was well-received from the public, with the $20-a-ticket event selling out in just 58 minutes, but Cash was not thrilled.
READ MORE: Djokovic reveals truth about injury ‘scare’
EXCLUSIVE: Rafa ‘fighting against instincts’ to stay relevant
EXCLUSIVE: Australia’s Ash Barty heir finally ‘believes’
“What’s quite extraordinary, it’s actually hard to believe, Tennis Australia is putting on an event, on centre court, for Nick and Djokovic – I don’t know, is Novak gonna play, has he pulled out of it?” Cash told SEN’s Sportsday.
“In what country, in what grand slam – would you have Wimbledon suddenly pulling out centre court or court 1 because Andy Murray needed a practice match?
“It’s hard to believe, they certainly wouldn’t do it at the French Open. There’s kids day and whatever and you go and play that. At the French Open it wouldn’t happen.
“They’ve bent over backwards to help Nick to get some matches and to do this, I don’t know.”
Cash also hit back at Kyrgios’ comments regarding a perceived lack of support from those in Australia after he sat out both the United Cup and Davis Cup.
Djokovic opens up on COVID controversy
“It’s beyond my ability to be able to understand what’s going on in Nick Kyrgios’ head,” he said.
“I think he’s a good kid and he means well, but you can’t have it both ways. You can’t say oh I’ve done this stuff for charity, but I won’t represent my country, why won’t you love me? I behave like an idiot and then wait a minute I donate some money, I’m a nice guy.
“I think he means well and we should always give him the benefit of the doubt in the end.”
For a daily dose of the best of the breaking news and exclusive content from Wide World of Sports, subscribe to our newsletter by clicking here!
The top 20 all-time PGA Tour prize money winners