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Sport Kyrgios' incredible Open snub revealed

03:10  21 january  2020
03:10  21 january  2020 Source:   wwos.nine.com.au

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Nick Kyrgios has snubbed centre court at the Australian Open in favour of playing at a publicly-available arena.

Kyrgios will play world No.51 Lorenzo Sonego on Melbourne Arena on Tuesday night for his first round match.

Melbourne Arena is open to fans with ground passes, as opposed to Rod Laver Arena and Margaret Court Arena, where premium prices are charged for the big-name matches. Usually, Grand Slam centre court matches are the dream for players.

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Yet Kyrgios, the 23rd seed, instead requested the opportunity to play in front of regular punters. Centre court attendees will see fourth seed Daniil Medvedev play Frances Tiafoe on Tuesday night.

The mecurial Aussie, wildly-popular despite being infuriating to his haters, should be rewarded with amazing support on Melbourne Arena. The smaller venue holds 10,500 fans, compared to 14,820 at Rod Laver Arena.

"It's great that the Australian Open's looking after him and put him on the court that he wants to play on," Dylan Alcott, the defending Open wheelchair champion, said on Nine.

"Melbourne Arena is a public court, anybody can get in. I think the line's going to be massive and he feeds off that crowd."

Nick Kyrgios hitting a ball with a racket: Nick Kyrgios opted to play on publicly-available Melbourne Arena over Rod Laver Arena.© Getty Nick Kyrgios opted to play on publicly-available Melbourne Arena over Rod Laver Arena.

Kyrgios has admitted that he frequently struggles for motivation on the ATP Tour, but thrives on home crowd support. He has so far been in terrific form this summer, notching a win over world No.6 Stefanos Tsitsipas during the ATP Cup.

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If he brings his A-game and the Melbourne fans play their part, he should have too much firepower for Sonego.

"He requested it (Melbourne Arena) over Rod Laver Arena, it's going to be jumping in there," Alcott said.

Kyrgios' request also solved an awkward problem for Open organisers, who are occasionally forced to decide whether Australian players or top international stars should get plum centre court slots.

Aussie crowds love to see local heroes like Kyrgios on the big stage, but higher-ranked players are often more deserving of playing matches on Rod Laver Arena.

Ashleigh Barty, Australia's women's world No.1, is obviously the best of both worlds. She beat Ukraine's Lesia Tsurenko in her round one match on Rod Laver Arena on Monday night.

Nick Kyrgios hitting a ball with a racket: Nick Kyrgios during the ATP Cup.© Getty Nick Kyrgios during the ATP Cup.

Kyrgios has already had a brilliant Rod Laver Arena moment this summer, having inspired the Australian Open Rally for Relief fundraiser that preceded the Grand Slam tournament at the venue. It raised nearly $5 million for bush fire relief.

Kyrgios played a set against Roger Federer during the exhibition, losing 7-6 (8-6) in a good-natured hit. The Aussie is donating $200 per ace to bush fire relief during this summer, an amount that was recently matched by a sponsor.

Nick Kyrgios beats Karen Khachanov in Australian Open five-set thriller in Melbourne .
Nick Kyrgios survives a gruelling five-set match against Russian Karen Khachanov at the Australian Open to move through to a blockbuster clash with world number one Rafael Nadal in the round of 16. © Getty MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 25: Nick Kyrgios of Australia plays a backhand during his Men's Singles third round match against Karen Khachanov of Russia on day six of the 2020 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 25, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia.

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