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Nadal, Kyrgios pay tributes to Bryant after Aus Open match | Nadal, Kyrgios pay tributes to Bryant after Aus Open match | English.Lokmat.Com

Nadal, Kyrgios pay tributes to Bryant after Aus Open match

Top tennis players Rafael Nadal and Nick Kyrgios paid tributes to Kobe Bryant, the NBA legend who died in a helicopter crash on Sunday, during their fourth-round clash at the Australian Open.
Nadal, Kyrgios pay tributes to Bryant after Aus Open match

Kyrgios, a basketball fan, was close to tears as he walked onto Rod Laver Arena here wearing an LA Lakers jersey with Bryant's name on the back.

Nadal edged ahead of Australia's Kyrgios 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (8-6), 7-6, (7-4) to enter the quarterfinals but a pall of gloom descended after the game as the pair spoke about the five-time NBA champion and 18-time All-Star.

"What can I say, I woke up this morning with this terrible news," Nadal was quoted as saying by CNN in his on-court interview with tennis great John McEnroe.

"It's super sad. He was one of the greatest sportsmen in history. He deserves a big round of applause. It's one of these days that you want to forget but of course Kobe Bryant will be in our hearts and in our minds for the rest of our lives," he added.

Kyrgios also wore a Lakers jersey during his post-match press conference as he reflected on Bryant's legacy. "I never met Kobe but basketball's practically my life, I watch it every day and I've been following it for as long as I remember... it's tough, it's horrible news," he was quoted as saying by CNN.

"If anything, it motivated me (during the game). If you look at the things he stood for and what he wanted to be remembered by, I felt like if anything it helped me tonight. When I was down a break in the fourth set I was definitely thinking about it and I fought back," Kyrgios said.

Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter died in a helicopter crash in Southern California on Sunday night, sending shockwaves through the sporting world and beyond. He was 41.

( With inputs from IANS )

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