Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery – go ask Nick Kyrgios and Gilles Simon.

The pair mimicked Rafa Nadal’s routine at the Australian Open tonight, as Kyrgios overcame a mid-match slum to move into the third round with a 6-2, 6-4, 4-6, 7-5 victory over his French opponent.

In response to a time violation at the end of the second set, Kyrgios muttered loudly as only he can, before imitating Rafa’s little ways – a swipe of the hair on either side, then a quick pick at the seat of his shorts.

Then in the third set Simon also received a time violation, he had Kyrgios laughing by doing his own rendition of Rafa’s routine.

Nick Kyrgios laughs at Gilles Simon’s Rafa routine.  Photo Roger Parker International Sports Fotos Ltd

The reaction lit up social media. “That’s the closest Kyrgios has ever gotten to emulating a grand slam champion,” wrote Bastien Fachan.

Another Twitter user, Bill BC, wrote: “I love Nadal but come on, this is hilarious.”

Home favourite Kyrgios was cruising at two sets up when he dropped the third and his composure. Another implosion?

But he rallied to take the fourth 7-5, and the match.

Nick Kyrgios rallied in the fourth to win his second round match. Photo Roger Parker International Sports Fotos Ltd

“I definitely lost my way a little. He’s a tough competitor. He knows how to win matches … I could have gone to a very dark place in the fourth set but I somehow put it away,” said Kyrgios, who will meet Russia’s Karen Khachanov next.

“That would have been very interesting if it went to a fifth set.”


Even umpire Jaume Campistol was amused.  Photo Roger Parker International Sports Fotos Ltd

“I thought I lifted in the fourth. I put my head down. I told myself … just get to work,” he added. Asked to explain the incident in the press-conference Kyrgios responded: “I know what you’re getting at (smiling).

Nick Kyrgios celebrates as he wins in four sets. Photo Roger Parker International Sports Fotos Ltd

“I started my service motion. There wasn’t any extracurricular activities I was doing before my serve to waste time.

“I mean, it happened. That’s the ref’s discretion whether I went over the clock or not. It really didn’t matter too much.”

Meanwhile, Nadal had dramas of his own after he accidentally struck a ball girl with a ball.

Rafael Nadal won his second round match against Federico Delbonis. Photo Anne Parker International Sports Fotos Ltd/Alamy Live News

“For her probably was not a good moment. I was so scared for her honestly. The ball was quick and straight onto her. She is a super brave girl,” he said.

“I am not worried at all. Probably after 15 years she doesn’t care much.

“It was honestly one of the most scary moments I have on the tennis court and I have a scary memory from Wimbledon many years ago.”

Nadal beat Federico Delbonis 6-3 7-6 6-1 to ease into the third round of the first Grand Slam of the year.

Afterwards he said it was his time playing the evening and said the conditions were slower.

Rafael Nadal said he didnlt care too much about Kyrgios mimicking his style.  Photo Anne Parker International Sports Fotos Ltd/Alamy Live News

“It is cooler tonight, great weather but different conditions. It was a great match but I lost a lot of opportunities,” he said.

Told of the incident after beating Delbonis, Nadal said: “I really don’t care”.

“I am here to play tennis. Honestly, I don’t care at all. If was funny, good. That’s it.”