Kobe Bryant death: Nick Kyrgios wears Lakers jersey, breaks down on court ahead of match against Nadal - WATCH
Kobe Bryant death: Australia tennis star Nick Kyrgios on Monday was seen sporting NBA legend Kobe Bryant’s Los Angeles Lakers jersey ahead of Australian Open fourth round clash against Rafael Nadal. Kyrgios was seen in the dugout, mentally preparing himself for the match wearing the jersey of basketball legend Bryant’s jersey. Bryant, early morning on Monday, passed away at the age of 42, along with his 13-year-old daughter and seven others in a helicopter crash.
Kyrgios, who is known to be a massive basketball fan, and a supporter of Boston Celtics NBA team, was seen coming out on the turf wearing Bryant’s jersey, to pay tributes to the legend. He was also seen breaking down in tears before the start of play.
Kyrgios was not the only tennis player to pay tributes to Bryant. Earlier, multiple Grand Slam champion doubles pairing and Lakers fans Bob and Mike Bryan played their final match at Melbourne Park before retirement with yellow tape on the backs of their legs marked with Bryant’s shirt number, 24, and nickname, Mamba.
Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic led the tennis world in mourning for “mentor” Kobe Bryant on Monday. Djokovic, in a tweet, spoke fondly of his relationship with the former Los Angeles Laker in an interview at the weekend and the 16-times Grand Slam champion. “My heart truly mourns over the news today. Kobe was a great mentor and friend to me. You and your daughter will live forever in our hearts. There are not enough words to express my deepest sympathies to the Bryants and every family suffering from this tragedy. RIP my friend,” he wrote.
Djokovic’s great rival Rafael Nadal also joined a cavalcade of top players in expressing his condolences, declaring his “shock” at the news of the death in California of one of the NBA’s all-time greatest players. “I woke up this morning with the horrible news of the tragic death of one of the greatest sportsman in the world,” the Spaniard wrote.