All General Discussion concerning WTA and ATP
Nick Kyrgios has launched a remarkable volley of insults at some of the leading players in men’s tennis ahead of the 2019 French Open draw, making last year’s verbal spats with Bernard Tomic look benign in comparison.
Kyrgios used a podcast at the Rome Masters as the platform to reveal his disdain for Novak Djokovic’s “cringeworthy” post-match celebrations and Rafael Nadal’s “super salty” double standards.
But he saved his best serve for Fernando Verdasco after a series of run-ins with the Spanish veteran both on the court and on social media over the years.
“Verdasco drives me nuts, man. That guy ... I don’t even want to talk about it,” Kyrgios told American freelance tennis writer Ben Rothenberg on the “No Challenges Remaining” podcast.
“It gets me so vexed, I’m like angry now that I just hear that name. He’s the most arrogant person ever.
“He doesn’t say hello, he thinks he’s so good, he thinks he’s God’s gift. Dude, your backhand’s pretty average and let’s be honest, you hit a ball over a net.
“Guy’s like that, they drive me insane. There’s no humility there, there’s no perspective. It’s just like, ‘I’m here, I’m so cool, I’m unbelievable because I hit a ball over the net. Do this for me, do this for me, I won’t say hello to you, I’m too important’.
“Guys like that. See how angry I’m getting? It kills me. He just rubs me the wrong way.”
Nor can Kyrgios take much of Djokovic.
“I just feel like he has a sick obsession with wanting to be liked. He just wants to be like Roger (Federer),” the Australian said.
“For me personally - I don’t care right now, I’ve come this far - I feel like he just wants to be liked so much that I just can’t stand him.
“This whole celebration thing (blowing kisses to the crowd) that he does after matches, it’s like so cringeworthy. It’s very cringeworthy.
“He’s an unbelievable player, he’s a champion of the sport; one of the greatest we’ll ever see. He probably will, honestly, I reckon he will get the grand slam count, I reckon he will overpass Federer.
“(But) we’re talking about a guy who pulled out of the Australian Open one year because it was too hot. No matter how many grand slams he wins, he will never be the greatest for me.
“Simply because, I’ve played him twice and like, I’m sorry, but if you can’t beat me, you’re not the greatest of all time.
“Because if you like look at my day-to-day routine and how much I train and how much I put in, it’s zero compared to him.”
There’s also bound to be no love lost if Kyrgios runs into 11-times French Open champion Nadal in Paris.
“Hmm, this is dangerous,” Kyrgios said.
“He’s my polar opposite, like literally my polar opposite. And he’s super salty.
“Every time I’ve beaten him ... when he wins, it’s fine. He won’t say anything bad, he’ll credit the opponent, ‘He was a great player’.
“But as soon as I beat him, it’s just like, ‘He has no respect for me, my fans and no respect to the game’.
“And I’m like, ‘What are you talking about? I literally played this way when I beat you the other previous times and nothing changed ... When you beat me in Rome here a couple of years ago, nothing changed; I was the same person’.
“It’s not a good look for you, I feel. And then Uncle Toni (Nadal) came out saying, ‘He lacks education’. I’m like, ‘Bra, I did 12 years at school, you idiot. I’m very educated. I understand that you’re upset I beat your family again’.”
Kyrgios also called fellow Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis his “brother”, said Federer was the undisputed G.O.A.T. (greatest of all time), and spoke fondly about Andy Murray.
The French Open begins 26 May, with Nadal and Djokovic seeded first and second, meaning an early clash with the unseeded Kyrgios could be on the cards.
Then this happens:
Nick Kyrgios was defaulted from his second-round Italian Open clash against Norway's Casper Ruud on Thursday after the hot-headed Australian hurled a chair on to the court.
World No. 36 Kyrgios was given a code violation for unsportsmanlike conduct after being broken early in the third set.
Having already been handed a code violation earlier in the match, the latest outburst meant the umpire also handed him a game penalty.
This prompted an angry Kyrgios to slam his racket into the ground and kick a water bottle before he tossed a chair toward the centre of the court.
The frustrated Kyrgios, 24, shook hands with his opponent and the umpire before he strode off the court, effectively defaulting himself from the contest.
The Australian's outburst comes just a day after he launched an astonishing attack on some of the biggest names in tennis as part of a podcast at the Rome Masters.
Kyrgios revealed his disdain for the "cringeworthy" postmatch celebrations of world No. 1 Novak Djokovic and the "super-salty" attitude of 11-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal.
Ruud was leading 6-3, 6-7 (5), 2-1 when Kyrgios was disqualified and will face Juan Martin del Potro in the third round.
This happened right in front of me.
This dude is insane. He should check in a mental hospital.
Before his meldown, the entire crowd was for him, chanting his name. The atmosphere was unbelievable. He had almost everyone in his corner.
And he flipped, barely in the 3rd set for being broken at 1-0.
Is this guy normal?
Throwing chairs and water bottle on the court, yelling at the linesman, kicking the linesman's chair... It was horrible.
Did they fine Serena $80,000 for her incident with lineswoman in New York? This dude should get triple.
He got broken while leading 1-0 in the 3rd set. He started badmouthing the linesman. He had already received a code violation. The ref gave him a second, which means automatic 1 game penalty.
That's when he went banana. He first slams his racket. Then walked back to the linesman and kept talking. Then he turned around and kicked a water battle to the court. Followed by grabbing a chair and throwing it in the middle of the court. Then another water bottle. Then the linesman's chair. And the ref kept watching.
Then he dismissed himself and left the court.
I think he suffers mental problems.
Until that meltdown, the whole stadium was chanting his name... was going crazy after each of his winners and aces. He owned the stadium. That should have been enough to put things in perspective. What's a break at 1-all in the 3rd set???? It's not like the opponent was going to serve for the match following that break.
The man is crazy. Seriously. Something definitely wrong with his brain.
I was watching Mladenovic vs Barty and he was playing on the adjacent court. There were no seats left so even some his fans we're on the side of the women's match. The fields are so close it really doesn't matter much where one sits.
Some people like the McEnroe type of antics. But this guy takes it to another level. It's disgusting.
"I feel bad for him, but something is failing, the ATP has given him too much hype, he plays very well, but with another mentality he would aspire to the maximum, he should make an effort to change," the uncle of world No. 2 Nadal told El Espanol.
"It's hard for him to take the pressure and the difficulty of the competition, he does not do any good in the sport, in the end there is no other option but to put a penalty on him.
"It is bad for tennis and has entered a dynamic that hurts him, something is failing, it is not normal, I have seen the images and his attitude is quite painful."
Kyrgios responded via Twitter, with a winking emoji and the words: "I'll try and clean up my act."
Thanks for the explanation, Ace! It's a shame that he acts like that. He's so talented and fun to watch when he actually wants to play and act like a normal player...
Following his exit at Rome, Kyrgios traveled to Wimbledon, where Murray has been training as he aims to come return from a hip injury.
"I'm hitting with Andy Murray today," Kyrgios said.
Wimbledon's grass courts would seem an unusual stop for a player entered to play on clay next week, but according to the Times, the players trained on a green clay court. Still, Kyrgios was vocal about his preference as he walked at the All England Club.
"This is the best tournament in a the world... get rid of the clay, man. Who likes the clay," he said.
"The fact that I'm here right now and I have to go to Paris in a couple of days," he said. "The French Open sucks compared to this place. Absolutely sucks."
The story was widely picked up by French news outlets. Kyrgios is No. 36 in the rankings.