Kyrgios branded an ‘evil bully’ after hot-tempered Wimbledon match
Aussie tennis ace Nick Kyrgios very much lived up to his reputation for creating as many headlines off the court as he does on it after defeating Greek rival Stefanos Tsitsipas in a heated showdown at Wimbledon on Saturday.
The unseeded Kyrgios is arguably playing the best tennis of his career this year and once again showed that he is capable of moments of magic throughout his four set triumph against the world's fifth-ranked player Tsitsipas - but as has so often been the case, his impressive win has been somewhat overshadowed by the rancor which followed it.
Tsitsipas edged a close first set before Kyrgios took over and, with a mixture of supreme tennis and on-court bluster and histrionics, Kyrgios won the next three to eliminate the fourth seed, inching closer to a Grand Slam crown which has so far evaded him in his singles career.
But Tsitsipas wasn't happy with the manner in which Kyrgios achieved his win.
“It’s constant bullying, that’s what he does,” the Greek said post-match.
“He bullies the opponents. He was probably a bully at school himself. I don’t like bullies. I don’t like people that put other people down. He has some good traits in his character, as well. But he also has a very evil side to him.”
Kyrgios, for his part, was initially conciliatory towards Tsitsipas but changed his tune when he became aware of what the press had been told of his performance by his opponent.
“I would be pretty upset if I lost to someone two weeks in a row, as well. Maybe he should figure out how to beat me a couple more times first and then get to that,” he said, referencing his victory against Tsitsipas at the recent Halle Open.
There was a perfunctory handshake between the two after the match but Tsitsipas made clear afterwards that this was in appreciation of Kyrgios's tennis and not his character.
“Attitude-wise, if there was a handshake for that, I would definitely be walking away from it, and that’s how it is. It’s not acceptable in any way,” he said.
Kyrgios, though, said that he wasn't the one responsible for the gloomy atmosphere throughout their match.
“I just think he’s making that match about me, like he’s got some serious issues, like serious. I’m good in the locker room. I’ve got many friends, just to let you know. I’m actually one of the most liked. I’m set. He’s not liked. Let’s just put that there,” he said.
Jawing aside, the win was a pivotal one for Kyrgios. He will take on Brandon Nakashima this week for a place in what would be his first Wimbledon quarter-final since 2014 and with the highest seeded player on his side of the draw being Alex de Minaur, who is 19th seed, Kyrgios tennis may well do the talking for him en route to what could potentially be a career defining achievement if he makes the final.
Just don't expect Stefanos Tsitsipas to be all that happy about it.