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8 Feb, 2021 13:07

‘Tell your girlfriend to get out of my box’: Tennis lout Nick Kyrgios attacks own team, brands Djokovic ‘very strange cat’ (VIDEO)

‘Tell your girlfriend to get out of my box’: Tennis lout Nick Kyrgios attacks own team, brands Djokovic ‘very strange cat’ (VIDEO)

Even by his standards, tennis wildman Nick Kyrgios has made an explosive start to the Australian Open - hammering his own box within minutes of his first match at the tournament and showing no mercy to Novak Djokovic once again.

The home hopeful produced a predictably angry response after making a nightmare start to the tournament, being broken by Portuguese qualifier Frederico Ferreira Silva to go 2-0 down in his first encounter.

Having already sworn, Kyrgios initially asked his watching entourage at the John Cain Arena: "Are you awake? You’re saying one thing for two games. Seriously, are you awake?”

As he angrily battled to contend with the world number 182, Kyrgios then took aim at a figure who some viewers speculated could have been his brother's partner by bafflingly warning: “Tell your girlfriend to get out of my box."

There were reportedly five men and two women in his box at the time, including elder sibling Christos.

It is unclear whether any personnel changes were made to the group, but Kyrgios's outburst seemed to have the desired affect on his performance, leading to the volatile badboy narrowly taking his first game of a 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 passage to the second round.

Along the way, he told a member of the crowd to "be quiet bro - have some respect for the kid" while referring to Silva, a 25-year-old who is a month older than him.

"I'm a nutcase when I'm on court," Kyrgios awkwardly laughed afterwards. "It was heat of the battle type stuff.

"It was just being out there, all those emotions again. You outlet to people who you know have your back and you know that's not going to change.

"A lot of people can relate to outbursts and you just need to verbalize it and lash out on someone sometimes. And then I calmed down and started playing some decent tennis. It wasn't her."

Anyone naive enough to have expected that to be the limit of Kyrgios speaking his mind on the opening day of the Grand Slam would have been disappointed.

When he was inevitably asked about a relatively diplomatic set of comments made by Serb superstar Novak Djokovic towards him, Kyrgios continued his longstanding exchange of pleasantries with the world number one.

"It’s a strange one for me because I read his comments - he said he doesn’t respect me off the court," said Kyrgios.

"It actually would make complete sense to me if he was like, 'look, I don’t respect the guy on the court', because I understand if he doesn’t agree with some of my antics on the court that I have done in the past.

"And when we’ve played matches I think I’ve actually been pretty good towards him. But I’m not quite sure how he can’t respect me off the court.

"I feel like I’ve gone about things extremely well, especially during the pandemic. I was... driving around delivering food to people during the pandemic that didn’t or couldn’t get the supplies.

"I was extremely careful about what I was doing. I didn’t want to spread the virus to anyone.

"Now I’m actually trying to donate meal kits to people that need food. I have my foundation.

"So it’s very strange to me as why he would say he doesn’t respect me off the court. I actually do a lot off the court. But yeah, he’s a very strange cat, Novak is."

Kyrgios then referenced Djokovic's infamous Adria Tour event during the summer, which ended with a spate of positive Covid-19 tests after he had been pictured taking part in a number of activities that were widely perceived as unwise, including going shirtless in a nightclub.

"Heck of a tennis player, but unfortunately someone that’s partying with his shirt off during a global pandemic," said Kyrgios.

"I don’t know if I can take any slack from that man. That’s as bad as it gets, for me."

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Speaking on Sunday, much-maligned Djokovic had called Kyrgios "good for the sport" and "different".

"He goes about his tennis and off-court things in his authentic way," he reflected. "Like everyone else, I have respect for him because everyone has the right and freedom to choose how they want to express themselves and what they want to do.

"My respect goes to him for the tennis he's playing. I think he is a very talented guy; his game is big. He has proven that he has the quality to beat any player in the world.

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"Off the court, I don't have much respect for him, to be honest. That's where I'll close it. I don't have any further comments for him, his comments for me or anything else he's trying to do."

Kyrgios insisted that his tantrums were a fixture of his game and, in a further twist, appeared to say that he was still an item with Chiara Passari, the girlfriend from whom he was rumored to have split after she made her Instagram account private and made cryptic posts about "cheaters" last week.

"I always had a pretty good perspective, even before last year happened," he claimed.

"I feel old. I feel like this sport has stressed me out. I feel like an old soul. At the end of the day, I know it’s just a tennis match.

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"Obviously I’m going to get angry as I’m playing. I’m a competitor, I always want to win.

"I don’t beat myself up over losses. I’m extremely lucky to even be in my position. I’m healthy.

"I’ve got great friends, great family. An amazing girlfriend back home. I’m blessed. That’s what I mean. Look at me. I’m a wise man now."

Djokovic is also through to the second round of the Australian Open, beating Jeremy Chardy in straight sets in his opening match.

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