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MELBOURNE: Tennis star Nick Kyrgios became part-owner of Australian basketball side South East Melbourne Phoenix on Thursday, saying he was looking forward to growing the franchise.

The 27-year-old, who is gearing up for the Australian Open next week, has been a long-time fan of the sport and joins an ownership group that includes Los Angeles Clippers player John Wall.

The famously fiery Kyrgios is close friends with the National Basketball League team’s owner Romie Chaudhari and said he was thrilled to be involved.

“I love the vision he shared with me, and my team and I are really impressed with the organisation’s accomplishments in a short period of time,” said the Australian, a die-hard Boston Celtics fan.

“I know there is plenty that I can contribute towards the growth of the franchise.

“I’m especially looking forward to getting down to South East Melbourne and meeting the team and fans and working together with the youth in the city.”

The 10-team NBL is widely considered one of the best basketball leagues in the world outside the NBA.

Australia’s Kyrgios withdraws from United Cup with injury

Kyrgios’ investment in the Phoenix is his latest foray into sports team ownership.

He recently joined Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka in taking a stake in a Miami-based franchise in the new Major League Pickleball in the United States.

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