Melbourne, Australia, 30 January 2022 | Darren Parkin

From childhood friends to Grand Slam winners, Thanasi Kokkinakis and Nick Kyrgios have written a magical chapter in Australian tennis this past fortnight.

The dream ride is complete, with the excitement machines going from wildcards to Grand Slam doubles champions on home soil.

The pair, who had never progressed past the third round of a major in doubles, swept all before them to claim their maiden Grand Slam title.

After a sustained arm wrestle in the first set, it was Kokkinakis and Kyrgios who converted their fourth break point chance in a lengthy 11th game to deliver the first blow of the contest.

An error in judgement to let a Kokkinakis forehand go, only for it to land inside the corner, was a decisive moment in the context of that opening set, leading to the only break.

In contrast to what may have been expected, it was Ebden and Purcell who were the more aggressive, landing 18 winners to nine and making six unforced errors to zero. With the Special K’s ability to play solid tennis on big points proving to be the difference in that set.

In the second set, the break came in the seventh game, when Ebden and Purcell couldn’t counteract some aggressive net play from Kokkinakis in particular.

It was Kyrgios who had the responsibility of serving out the contest and he was lethal, holding to love in less than a minute to secure the victory 7-5 6-4.

On a court that saw plenty of hugs and emotion on this special Saturday evening, the embrace between the two good friends was a tight as any.

“This week has been a dream come true for me and I wouldn’t want to do it with anyone else,” Kyrgios said.

The pair did not face a single break point in the match, as they became the first all-Australian duo to win the home Slam since the Woodies in 1997.

The match was full of showmanship on both sides of the net, with banter, tweeners, and tennis of the highest quality.

In the first all-Australian men’s doubles final at the Australian Open since 1980, the crowd fully embraced the occasion, still basking in the glory of Ash Barty’s success.

> READ: Barty crowned AO 2022 champion

For Kokkinakis, it caps off a magical January with the South Australian having won his first ATP singles title in his home city, before partnering up with Kyrgios to claim the crown in Melbourne.

“I can honestly say we didn’t expect to come close to this. But the coverage it got and the support for us is amazing, we couldn’t ask for anything more,” Kokkinakis said post-match.

“Coming into the Australian Open I was already crazy happy and this is the cherry on the top.”

Ebden and Purcell have played just two tournaments together, with a run to the US Open quarterfinals last year and now an Australian Open final, pointing to a strong partnership going forward.

“We’ve had a great couple of weeks, some tough matches along the way, we got through some good pairs,” Ebden said.

“I didn’t think we did all that much wrong tonight, but these boys were really good.”

Purcell was full of praise for his opponents and also optimistic for his future with Ebden, given their recent run of success.

“Hopefully we can see you guys team up on the doubles court because it’s a hell of a lot of fun to see you guys play,” he said.

“For us this is our second tournament together and we’ve got a trophy so I can’t wait to keep playing with Matty.”

In a weekend of remarkable stats, one that almost trumps anything is the fact that the last pair to win a junior Grand Slam before going to win a major Slam before Kokkinakis and Kyrgios was the Bryan brothers.

They went on and won 16 majors together. Just maybe, the Special Ks might be very special.

Australian Open 2022

Men’s doubles, final
[WC] Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS)/Nick Kyrgios (AUS) d Matt Ebden (AUS)/Max Purcell (AUS) 7-5 6-4

Women’s singles, final
[1] Ash Barty (AUS) d [27] Danielle Collins (USA) 6-3 7-6(2)

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