Thanasi Kokkinakis and Nick Kyrgios completed their dream Australian Open run late Saturday evening when they defeated fellow Aussies Matthew Ebden and Max Purcell 7-5, 6-4 to lift the trophy.
The crowd favourites, who thrilled fans throughout the tournament with their entertaining play, are the first wild cards to win the event in the Open Era and the first wild cards to triumph at any major since Wimbledon in 2012, when Jonathan Marray and Frederik Nielsen were victorious.
“This week has been a dream come true for me. I wouldn’t want to do it with anyone else,” Kyrgios said during the trophy ceremony. “Max has been to the final twice, so he’s a hell of a doubles player. Matty’s had a hell of a career, so I’m just super happy.”
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This was the pair’s fourth appearance at a major together. But in their three previous Grand Slam appearances, they won just one match. At this year’s Australian Open, Kokkinakis and Kyrgios defeated four seeded opponents — top seeds Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic, 15th seeds Ariel Behar and Gonzalo Escobar, sixth seeds Tim Puetz and Michael Venus and third seeds Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos — en route to the trophy.
“Nick, I love you brother. I can honestly say we did not expect to even come close to this, but with the help of you guys all week, [it has] been unbelievable,” Kokkinakis said. “The coverage it got and the support for us, we couldn’t ask for anything more.”
Heavy hitting from Kokkinakis and Kyrgios off the ground proved too much in the big moments in their one-hour, 35-minute victory. Purcell saved the first championship point at 3-5 in the second set with a big serve out wide. But in the next game, Kyrgios held to love.
The champions completed their victory when Kokkinakis punched a backhand volley through the middle of the court for a winner. Kokkinakis and Kyrgios dropped their racquets and immediately sprinted into a chest bump before embracing to celebrate their big win.
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In the first set, Kokkinakis hit big off the ground to claim the match’s first break, on his team’s fourth break point chance of the game, for 6-5. Their break in the second set, at 3-3, also came off big hitting from Kokkinakis, who struck a forehand that drew a volley error from Ebden.
Kokkinakis and Kyrgios are the first all-Australian men’s doubles champions at the Australian Open since Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde triumphed in 1997. Both men are known for their singles play, but despite Adelaide champion Kokkinakis (first round) and Kyrgios (second round) losing in the singles draw by the second round, they bounced back to create a memorable run in the doubles.
“It’s been a rough couple years for me personally… but what a month we’ve had. I couldn’t ask for anything more,” Kokkinakis said. “Coming into the Aussie Open, I was already happy, and this is a crazy cherry on top.”
This was Ebden and Purcell’s second tournament together after reaching last year’s Australian Open quarter-finals. In 2020, Purcell made the Australian Open final with Luke Saville.
“They adapted really well. Gotta give them credit. We didn’t do too much wrong. They were roping balls, front and centre lobs at our toes, smoking huge serves,” Ebden said. “We sort of did everything we could, but just wasn’t our day.”
Did You Know?
This was the first all-Australian men’s doubles final at the Australian Open since Mark Edmondson and Kim Warwick defeated Peter McNamara and Paul McNamee in the 1980 championship match.