- Nick Kyrgios held back tears as he entered the court ahead of his match against Rafael Nadal on Monday wearing a Kobe Bryant jersey.
- Bryant, 41, and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, died in a helicopter crash Calabasas, California on Sunday alongside seven others.
- Kyrgios, who was visibly distressed as he entered the Rod Laver Arena, warmed up in the Los Angeles Lakers shirt, which had Bryant’s name and former number on.
- A number of other tennis stars, including Nadal, Novak Djokovic, and Stanislas Wawrinka, also paid tribute to Bryant on social media.
- “My heart truly mourns over the news today,” Djokovic wrote on Instagram. “Kobe was a great mentor and friend.”
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Nick Kyrgios struggled to hold back the tears before his Australian Open fourth round match against Rafael Nadal on Monday as he entered the Rod Laver Arena wearing a Kobe Bryant jersey.
Bryant, 41, and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, died in a helicopter crash Calabasas, California on Sunday. Seven others also died in the crash.
Kyrgios, a well known basketball fan, was visibly distressed as he walked out to the packed crowd wearing a Los Angeles Lakers shirt with Bryant’s name and former number on, covering his face as he fought off tears.
He also became emotional as he sat on his chair, before warming up in the gold jersey.
—ATP Tour (@atptour) January 27, 2020
Kyrgios was not the only player at The Open to pay tribute to the late NBA icon.
His opponent on the day Nadal wrote on Twitter that he was “in shock” at the news of the death of “one of the greatest sportsman in the world.” He also shared his condolences to Bryant’s family.
—Rafa Nadal (@RafaelNadal) January 27, 2020
Novak Djokovic, who beat Diego Schwartzman in the fourth round on Sunday, wrote on Instagram alongside an old photo of him and Bryant: “My heart truly mourns over the news today. Kobe was a great mentor and friend.
“There are not enough words to express my deepest sympathies to the Bryants and every family suffering from this tragedy.
“May God bless you and Gianna. Thank you for being there for me and inspiring the entire world.”
Stefanos Tsitsipas, Stanislas Wawrinka, and Karolina Pliskova were just a few of the other stars to post tributes on social media.
Bryant was the third all-time scorer in the NBA and won five division championships, the latest of which came 2010. He retired from the sport in 2016.
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