“It motivated me” Emotional Nick Kyrgios’ touching tribute to Kobe Bryant

An emotional Nick Kyrgios has paid tribute to basketball legend Kobe Bryant during his thrilling match with World Number One Rafael Nadal.

The Aussie tennis star broke down in tears as he walked onto Rod Laver Arena wearing Bryant’s original Lakers jersey for his warm up overnight.

During a post match interview, Kyrgios told reporters that he tried to use Bryant’s ‘mamba mentality’ when he was down during his four set Australian Open match.


“I never met Kobe. But basketball is practically my life. I watch it every day. I’ve been following it for as long as I can remember,” he said.

“When I woke up to the news, it was pretty emotional. It was pretty heavy, like, all day.

“Obviously I was having basketball on at my house, watching the games. I was heavy. Yeah, it’s just tough. It’s horrible news.”

Kyrgios said he used the tragic news to motivate himself on the court.

“I mean, if anything, it motivated me. If you look at the things he stood for, what he wanted to be remembered by, I felt like, if anything, it helped me tonight,” he said.

“When I was down a break in the fourth, I was definitely thinking about it. I fought back.”

Kyrgios put on a thrilling show, but Nadal proved his strength in the end, taking out the match 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 7-6 to make his way through to the quarter finals.

Investigations are continuing into the fatal helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others.

The helicopter went down in foggy weather just outside Los Angeles on Sunday morning.

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