Rumours are circulating that Nick Kyrgios and Naomi Osaka could team up after the Japanese tennis star revealed she will be playing mixed doubles at Wimbledon.
Speaking after her second-round loss at the Madrid Open on Sunday, Osaka stunned reporters when she revealed her plans to play doubles at the All England Club in June, with the former World No.1 saying she has been working on her volleying and net play with an eye towards a run at the mixed doubles crown at the grass-court major.
“I have been really trying to focus on my net game, because I'm going to play mixed doubles in Wimbledon," Osaka told reporters.
"I know, shocking, right? I'm shocked too. Your eyes got super big.
“I really don't want to disappoint the person I'm playing with, because whenever I play doubles I always say, ‘Sorry’.
"I'm going to try not to be a liability.”
While Osaka did not reveal the identity of her mixed doubles partner, she said: “If this person sees it and they want to respond, they can do that, but I don’t know.
"Isn’t it more fun to kind of see it when it’s around the time? I’m pretty sure if you wanted to guess you could guess who it is.”
Fans and commentators immediately began speculating that Osaka's partner will be Kyrgios.
The pair were spotted on the practice court together ahead of Indian Wells in March, with Osaka watching on as Kyrgios was honing his serve.
Osaka was then asked about the possibility of teaming up with the Aussie star.
“If he wants to attempt to carry us, I’ll consider it,” the four-time grand slam champion said.
"But I haven’t played doubles in years and I’m not quite great at it.
“I know he just won the Australian Open doubles title. Yeah, if he wants to do everything…”
On Monday, English journalist James Gray tweeted: “The obvious answer is Nick Kyrgios, but I would only caution that with the fact that Kyrgios said he wouldn’t play doubles at Wimbledon this year after winning Australian Open with Thanasi Kokkinakis.
"May just have been talking about men’s doubles, of course.”
The obvious answer is Nick Kyrgios, but I would only caution that with the fact that Kyrgios said he wouldn't play doubles at Wimbledon this year after winning Australian Open with Thanasi Kokkinakis.
May just have been talking about men's doubles, of course.
— James Gray (@jamesgraysport) May 2, 2022
Kiran Gupta wrote: “Bit late to the party but seems pretty clear that Osaka is going to pair up with Kyrgios at Wimbledon (unless it’s someone slightly less obvious like Murray or Tsitsipas).
“On grass, that’s gonna be WILD. Good luck breaking their serves!”
Kyrgios famously played mixed doubles with Venus Williams at Wimbledon last year.
The pair won their first-round match before they were forced to withdraw when Kyrgios was injured while playing singles.
He teamed up with Kokkinakis to win the Australian Open men's doubles title in January - the first grand slam trophy for both men.
The Aussie star isn't playing the current clay-court season and will skip the French Open.
Clay is his least-favourite surface and he hasn't played at Roland Garros since 2017.
Osaka went down 6-3 6-1 to Sara Sorribes Tormo on Sunday in her first tournament on clay since the 2021 French open.
She famously withdrew after a first-round victory to protect her mental health after officials threatened to fine her for not attending press conferences.
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