Melbourne, Australia, 27 January 2022 | Leigh Rogers

Thanasi Kokkinakis and Nick Kyrgios are enjoying a thrilling run in the Australian Open 2022 men’s doubles competition.

The Aussie wildcards have eliminated three seeded teams to progress to the semifinals and attracted rapturous crowds each time they step on court.

Buoyed by such support, the popular duo are dedicating their run to their Australian fans.

“I think this Australian Open, I think with everything the people have gone through, they are just so happy to see Aussies have success,” said Kyrgios, who is currently ranked No.259 in doubles.

“This Aus Open, honestly, I think for us, it’s more about the people. Playing for them is more important than our doubles success.

“We just want to play and give the people of Australia and the Australian Open a show and genuinely try and grow the sport of tennis. That’s why I’m playing.”

The close mates, who are teaming up in an Australian Open doubles draw for the fourth time in their careers, are embracing the incredible atmosphere at the Melbourne Park precinct.

“The thrill for us is honestly walking out there,” said Kokkinakis, whose doubles ranking is No.434.

“This sounds stupid, but we worry about what happens in the match after. But it’s just seeing the support we’ve gotten and the crowd go nuts every time we get out there and how much they’re enjoying it, that kind of gets us going and gets us motivated to do better for them, honestly.”

Kyrgios is equally proud to see a youthful crowd getting behind their career-best run.

“There is no way around it, me and Thanasi are definitely role models to the youth in Australia. We obviously attract that crowd,” Kyrgios said.

“I know that over the years I haven’t been the best role model, but I was just learning how to deal with everything. I think now, at 26, I have matured, and I’ve definitely realised that a lot of young kids and people, even people that are low on confidence, they do look towards us when we go out there.

“We are not special people. We’re normal humans that you might see walking in Australia, and we are now in the semifinals of a Grand Slam.

“I feel like, I think, we are just relatable. I think that’s what’s the best thing about it. They go out and get behind their mates. Most of the guys in the crowd are our mates.”

> READ: Aussie stars edging closer to AO 2022 glory

Kyrgios and Kokkinakis face the No.3 seeds Horacio Zeballos, a 36-year-old from Argentina ranked No.6, and Marcel Granollers, a 35-year-old Spaniard ranked No.7, in today’s semifinals.

Not daunted by the challenge, the Aussies feel confident knowing the crowd will once again be on their side.

“Obviously the guys are experienced veterans,” Kokkinakis said. “But we’re going to keep playing how we play, enjoy it, and have fun, and use the crowd.”

Another all-Aussie duo, Matt Ebden and Max Purcell, have advanced to the semifinals as well. This marks the first time since 1985 that two all-Australian teams have reached this stage.

Ebden and Purcell also credited the vocal crowd support after eliminating the No.10 seeds in the quarterfinals yesterday.

“The key to victory was probably the crowd. It really was,” Ebden said.

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