‘Tell your girlfriend to get out of my box’: Tennis lout Nick Kyrgios attacks own team, brands Djokovic ‘very strange cat’ (VIDEO)
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."
I don’t know whose girlfriend is in Nick Kyrgios’ box - but he is NOT happy about it. 😬— Sharnelle Vella (@SharnelleVella) February 8, 2021
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.
girlfriends still appear to be in Kyrgios' box.... im intrigued. 🤔😂 #AUSOPEN— Domonique (@_domchantal) February 8, 2021
That third game had everything. Ten deuces, eight break points, some great shotmaking from both guys and, of course, Nick Kyrgios telling, we assume, his brother’s girlfriend to “get out of my box”. #AusOpen— Marc McGowan 🗣✍️👨🏻💻📰 (@ByMarcMcGowan) February 8, 2021
"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."
Djokovic on Kyrgios: You can read what he said, but I am not going to answer. (After Kyrgios quotes being read). Great. No (no answer). #AO2021— Saša Ozmo (@ozmo_sasa) February 8, 2021
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.
People act like Nick Kyrgios is great because of his irreverent attitude and his incredible natural talent for tennis. But his real achievement is making the sport actually watchable— Jim Malo (@thejimmalo) February 8, 2021
Kyrgios is a loose cannon who can cross a line on court, but has been doing significant communal work over the last yearDjokovic is well behaved on court, but is an anti-vaxxer and promotes Covid conspiraciesI will take Nick Kyrgios every time https://t.co/cDHzjtNAvZ— Strolling rabbi of no fixed address (@strollingrabbi) February 7, 2021
"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.
Nick Kyrgios through to the second round of the #AusOpen with a straight sets win over Ferreira Silva. Been sorely missed on tour over the past year, pure box office in terms of both shot-making and ranting. Tough one next against France's Ugo Humbert.— George Bellshaw (@BellshawGeorge) February 8, 2021
Kyrgios: 'It was special. Obviously very strange year last year. We all overcame it together to make this possible and it was amazing. It felt super normal to be honest, you guys were going nuts and it was good to see. Hopefully we can continue it.'— George Bellshaw (@BellshawGeorge) February 8, 2021
"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 was missed?? You missed him spitting on umpires, throwing chairs on court, being rude to his opponents...? You missed that?? Wow— 𝚗𝚒𝚌𝚔. A🎱 (@NoleLondon) February 8, 2021
How old is Kyrgios now? He must be old enough now to stop acting like a child.— journalistagendas (@journalistagen1) February 8, 2021
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."Also on rt.com ‘Djokovic is a tool’: Nick Kyrgios slams complaints from quarantining stars as Tomic’s girlfriend is forced to ‘wash own hair’
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.Also on rt.com ‘I genuinely care about my fellow players’: Tennis No1 Novak Djokovic hits back at critics to defend his Australian Open ‘demands’
"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.Also on rt.com ‘Why don’t her assistants tell her the truth?’ Internet erupts at tennis icon Serena Williams’ Australian Open one-legged catsuit
"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.Also on rt.com Out of the picture? Mystery over tennis badboy Kyrgios’s ‘soulmate’ after she shuts out fans & slams ‘cheaters’ being ‘unfaithful’