Kyrgios won't cop Novak's disrespect
The Australian Open kicked off with a bang on Monday as tennis fans were treated to plenty of action.
Stars like Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams progressed to the second round while Angelique Kerber and Gael Monfils were victims of major upsets.
And of course, there was Nick Kyrgios, who provided plenty of action on and off the court on day one at Melbourne Park.
Kyrgios can't cop Djokovic's disrespect
Nick Kyrgios added another chapter to his long-running feud with Novak Djokovic after the Serbian star said he didn't respect the Aussie wild child off the court.
Kyrgios slammed Djokovic for his conduct during the pandemic. The criticism ramped up as the world No. 1 held an exhibition tournament without any social distancing measures midway through last year, resulting in him and his wife - among others - contracting COVID-19.
Djokovic said before the Australian Open kicked off Kyrgios was a talented player, but off the court, there wasn't much to like.
Speaking after his straight sets win over Portugal's Frederico Ferreira Silva, Kyrgios responded by saying: "It's a strange one for me. I read his comments. He said he doesn't respect me off the court.
"It actually would make complete sense to me if he was like, 'I don't respect the guy on the court', because I understand if he doesn't agree with some of my antics on the court that I've done in the past.
"(But) when we've played matches, I think I've been pretty good towards him. I'm not quite sure how you can't respect me off the court."
Kyrgios referenced his own efforts during the coronavirus shutdown compared with those of Djokovic - who led a group of players around Europe as they defied health advice by playing in packed stadiums and partying in nightclubs.
"I feel like I've gone about things extremely well, especially during the pandemic," Kyrgios said. "I was driving around delivering food to people during the pandemic that couldn't get the supplies.
"I was extremely careful about what I was doing - I didn't want to spread the virus to anyone. Now, I'm actually trying to donate meal kits to people who need food. I have a foundation.
"So it's very strange to me why he would say he doesn't respect me off the court - I actually do a lot off the court.
"But he's a very strange cat, Novak is. A heck of a tennis player but unfortunately someone who's partying with his shirt off during a global pandemic, I don't know if I can take any slack from that man. That's as bad as it gets for me."
Djokovic was told about Kyrgios' comments after beating Jeremy Chardy in straight sets, but chose not to respond. "Great," is all he said.
Day 1 results
Naomi Osaka (JPN)  defeats Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) 6-1 6-2
Serena Williams (USA)  defeats Laura Siegemund (GER) 6-1 6-1
Corentin Moutet (FRA) defeated John Millman (AUS) 6-4 6-7 3-6 6-2 6-3
Alex Bolt (AUS) defeats Norbert Gombos (SVK) 6-2 6-2 4-6 6-3
Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS) defeats Misaki Doi (JPN) 6-2 6-1
Dominic Thiem (AUT)  defeats Mikhail Kukushkin (KAZ) 7-6 6-2 6-3
Alexander Zverev (GER)  defeats Marcos Giron (USA) 6-7 7-6 6-3 6-2
Ayrna Sabalenka (BLR)  defeats Viktoria Kuzmova (SVK) 6-0 6-4
Nick Kyrgios (AUS) defeats Frederico Ferreira Silva (POR) 6-4 6-4 6-4
Simona Halep (ROU)  defeats Lizette Cabrera (AUS) 6-2 6-1
Novak Djokovic (SRB)  defeats Jeremy Chardy (FRA) 6-3 6-1 6-2
Djokovic demolishes rival
World No. 1 Novak Djokovic took just over 90 minutes to complete a demolition job on Jeremy Chardy, wiping the Frenchman off the court 6-3 6-1 6-2 to start his Australian Open title defence in the best possible fashion.
He hit 41 winners and made just 11 enforced errors in a clinical performance as he racked up his 15th straight win at Melbourne Park.
Kyrgios spits the dummy but moves on
Nick Kyrgios is through to the second round after beating Portugal's Frederico Ferreira Silva in straight sets - but as usual, the attention wasn't completely on his tennis.
The Aussie wild child shook off some early rust to eventually cruise to a 6-4 6-4 6-4 win but it took just two games for the world No. 47 to start muttering angrily to himself.
He failed to take advantage of a break point in the first game, then was broken in the second as Ferreira Silva took a 2-0 lead in the opening set.
Waiting to receive again, Kyrgios seemed to say it was "unbelievable" he'd coughed up an early lead and chastised himself for his early bungle.
"Are you awake? You're saying one thing for two games," Kyrgios said to himself.
His murmurings were followed by a marathon third game and after botching a seventh break point, Kyrgios shouted to a member of his entourage, complaining about their girlfriend.
Kyrgios finally broke back in the third game and then held serve for 2-2.
The 25-year-old was far from happy but found his groove as normal service resumed and he claimed the first set 6-4.
With his temper tantrums out of the way, Kyrgios could concentrate on playing somewhere near his best and when he locked in his serve he was unstoppable.
He got some rapid points off his own racquet - including a blistering 46-second hold in the eighth game of the second set - as he took a 6-4 6-4 lead.
It looked like Kyrgios would maintain the rage in the third but after being broken to love in the second game, he blew up again, appearing to yell at his box once more.
Thankfully it was just a minor speed bump and Kyrgios unleashed his full array of strokes - including an incredible drop shot tweener winner - as he motored to victory.
"It was special. I appreciate you guys coming out. Obviously very strange year last year. We all overcame it together to make this possible," Kyrgios said when asked what it meant to be back on his favourite court in the world.
"I'm just super appreciative of you guys coming out. It was amazing. It felt normal, to be honest. You guys were going nuts, it was good to see. Hopefully we can continue to do it."
Zverev loses his cool but stays alive
Alexander Zverev lost his temper but thankfully not the match, coming back from a set down to beat American Marcos Giron.
The sixth-seeded German smashed a racquet in the second set but regained his composure and won enough points on serve to advance to the second round courtesy of a 6-7 7-6 6-3 6-2 victory.
Huge upset as former champ knocked out
Former world No. 1 and three-time grand slam champion Angelique Kerber was knocked out of the Open in the first round in a major upset.
Unseeded Bernarda Pera, ranked 149th in the world, hammered the German 23rd seed 6-0 6-4 to progress to the second round.
Kerber won the Australian Open in 2016 but was woefully out of form as two weeks in quarantine took their toll.
"You feel it, especially if you play a real match where it counts and you play the first matches in a grand slam, also against an opponent who doesn't stay in the hard lockdown," she said.
"Of course, you feel it if you are not hitting balls for two weeks and you are not in the rhythm."
Kerber admitted she was not prepared for two weeks in quarantine and said had she known that's what was required, she would have thought twice about coming to Australia at all.
It's the first time Kerber has exited before the fourth round at Melbourne Park since 2015.
Elsewhere in the women's draw, Venus Williams couldn't follow her sister's lead and lost in straight sets to Kirsten Flipkens, while Canadian Bianca Andreescu marked her first match in 15 months with a 6-2 4-6 6-3 win over Mihaela Buzarnescu.
Monfils breaks down in press conference
French star Gael Monfils became the highest-profile casualty on Day 1 of the Aussie Open, shocked by Emil Ruusuvouri.
The World No. 10 fell in five gruelling sets to his Finnish rival 3-6 6-4 7-5 3-6 6-3 in a devastating new low to his concerning form slump.
Monfils is yet to win a match since tennis returned from its pandemic-forced suspension.
An emotional Monfils broke down in tears during his post-match press conference when trying to explain his struggles to re-gain his top form.
"I would like to get out of this nightmare but I can't," he said.
"I do not feel well."
Controversy as wildman comes back from the dead
Aussie John Millman has been knocked out in a five-set marathon rollercoaster with Frenchman Corentin Moutet that exploded with drama.
Moutet fumed during an angry tirade at the end of the second set and destroyed his racquet after a heated exchange with the chair umpire.
When a controversial net call call didn't go his way and he conceded the third set, Moutet appeared dead in the water.
With Millman leading two sets to one, Moutet slumped down on his courtside seat and appeared to take a little nap before the fourth set.
Despite self destructing during his ongoing dispute with the chair umpire, the 21-year-old pulled himself together in the fourth set to send the match to a deciding fifth set.
Moutet had a running battle with the chair and was heard at one point asking if the umpire felt "proud" about hitting him with an unsportsmanlike code violation.
The drama spiked again in the third set, won by Millman, when the Aussie flirted with the net cord as he won a crucial point.
Millman scurried to meet a ball that dropped over his side of the net and a desperate lunge ended up bobbling over the net for a clear winner.
However, Millman had to try and slam the breaks on before crashing into the net while his ball was still live.
Millman showed incredible athleticism and balance to tip-toe away from the net while his weight and torso leaned over his opponent's side of the net.
Despite Moutet complaining, Millman won the point and captured the third set just a few minutes later.
However, Moutet showed incredible fight to secure the crucial break in the fifth set and walked away with an exhausting 6-4 6-7 3-6 6-2 6-3 win after almost four hours on court.
Crazy scenes of Australian Open like never before
Weird photos of the crowd at Melbourne Park have shown a very different Australian Open.
With crowds capped at 30,000 and masked spectators forced to segregate in isolated areas across Rod Laver Arena, Margaret Court Arena and John Caine Arena, the usual buzzing festival atmosphere outside the courts has been replaced by a quiet, unnerving atmosphere.
The Victorian Government confirmed last week masks would be mandatory at venues considered to be classified as indoor stadiums, meaning fans will have to wear masks when moving around Rod Laver Arena when the roof is closed. They will not have to mask up when sitting in their designated seat.
Despite the excitement about the first grand slam of the year going ahead against the extraordinary challenge of creating a COVID-19 safe major event, there has reportedly been a cold response from Melbourne locals.
Channel 7 reporter Nick McCullum posted on Twitter Monday that ticket sales have been "slow for day one".
The proud Aussie tournament is known around the tennis world as the "Happy Slam" for its convivial atmosphere, but the pandemic has cast dark clouds over this year's build-up.
The event had to be delayed three weeks because of the pandemic and preparations hit another speed bump on Wednesday when a coronavirus case at a hotel hosting quarantining tennis stars forced a suspension of play in the Melbourne Summer Series and ATP Cup.
Open star's angry swipe after hotel backflip
Australian Open star Paula Badosa has taken a fresh swipe at the hotel quarantine program following her positive test for COVID-19 in hard lockdown.
The Spanish star claims she was treated like a "criminal" by Australian authorities and described the experience as a "nightmare" and horrible.
The incredible claims come just days after Badosa apologised for her earlier complaints about the conditions she was enduring in lockdown in Melbourne.
She became the first female tennis player on the tournament's roster to have a confirmed positive test and did not emerge from her period of isolation until Thursday, just four days before the start of the Open.
She's now backflipped again, complaining about how she was treated after testing positive.
'It was a nightmare. They treated me as if I were a criminal, they transferred me from one hotel to another escorted by police officers," she told Spanish publication El Pais.
She said officials should have had a better back-up plan for the tennis players and officials that tested positive in lockdown.
"They should have raised better conditions to attend to the cases' knowing some players and support staff would test positive," she said.
Badosa earlier claimed tournament officials changed the rules on players after they had already arrived in Australia, after she was on one of the flights that included one passenger that tested positive upon landing in Australia.
"At the beginning the rule was the positive section of the plane who was with that person had to quarantine. Not the whole plane," she wrote in a tweet that was later deleted.
"Not fair to change the rules at the last moment. And to have to stay in a room with no windows and no air."
Originally published as Kyrgios won't cop Novak's disrespect