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Nick Kyrgios at Wimbledon: escalation in his circus – sport

At least this time Nick Kyrgios hadn’t spat in the direction of a spectator. He hadn’t cursed a visitor like he had done in previous rounds at this tournament called Wimbledon. There is hardly a press conference in which he doesn’t blame everything on the media. He is always innocent, others would make mistakes, the eternal lyre.

Nick Kyrgios is known to be someone who is pigeonholed as bad boys are. He likes to be in it, which also accounts for its market value. After his second round win against the Serb Filip Krajinovic, he assured: “I know that I’m good.” And in a way he actually is. He rightly points out that the stadiums where he plays are full.

The streaming channel Netflix is ​​shooting a documentary about the tennis tour this season. Kyrgios is said to be accompanied most often by cameramen. They are said to have been sighted on this Saturday evening as well, they try to do it rather discreetly.

You don’t see that often either: Both players complain: Tsitsipas (left of the net) to the chair referee, Kyrios (right on the chair) to the head referee.

(Foto: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

They really had a lot to film, so far they must not have captured a match like this, including a bizarre aftermath in the press conference room. And that was not only, but of course also, due to Kyrgios, who – a novelty – this time was not the first bad boy, but only the second baddest. At least on the pitch. In any case, in the future his game against the Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas will be one of those unforgettable matches in which you are less attached to tennis and the 6: 7 (2), 6: 4, 6: 3, 7: 6 (7) success of the 27-year-old Australian will remember.

Kyrgios drove Tsitsipas crazy with a mixture of laments, snarls, tricks and shiny tennis

Things got heated on Court No. 1, the second largest stadium in the complex. The atmosphere was special before the match, the arena was full. Even Juan Carlos Ferrero, the coach of Spanish favorite Carlos Alcaraz, couldn’t find a seat at first. From the start, the intensity of the rallies was immense and the tension high. Tsitsipas is number five in the world, Kyrgios number 40, but he sees himself as a “top five lawn player”. Even in his playful self-assessment, he never minces his words.

On the square he keeps talking and mumbling to himself, the English call it “chuntering”. Kyrgios drove Tsitsipas, and he certainly suspected it, to incandescence with his manner, his lamentation and moaning and tricks. Kyrgios dared to serve from below early on, he hit the ball through his legs and made the point – it was Tsitsipas who gradually lost his nerve.

Wimbledon: On the pitch and especially on the chair, Nick Kyrgios is constantly talking and mumbling to himself, the English call it that

On the pitch and especially on the chair, Nick Kyrgios is always talking and mumbling to himself, the English call it “chuntering”, constant babbling – and he often annoys his opponents with it.

(Foto: Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP)

He still won the first set, 7:6 (2). But when he lost the second set 4:6, he lost control and backhanded the ball into the audience. The yellow ball just missed heads. Kyrgios immediately demanded that Tsitispas be disqualified, he asked the referee, “I want them all,” he shouted. There was a disqualification after a similar incident at the US Open in 2020, when Novak Djokovic hit a line judge with a short angry shot. Tsitsipas was lucky in this scene – he got away with a warning.

Kyrgios provokes and threatens to escalate – but it is his opponent who loses his composure

The mood remained such that one had to expect at any time that one or the other would freak out. Until then, Kyrgios had received a warning for “verbal obscenity”. He wanted to see a line judge replaced. Several times he came close to chopping his bat. He boldly asked the bravely fighting referee Damien Dumusois: “Are you stupid?” He berated him: “You are a disgrace, you change the rules as you wish.” He predicted that there would be an “amount of shit” at the press conference that Wimbledon would collect.

But it was Tsitsipas who lost his composure with Kyrgios’ next serve from below: The Greek threw the return with full force towards the scoreboard. He received a point deduction. And again debates and nagging. Tsitsipas tried to shoot down Kyrgios several times. That’s not forbidden per se, but you don’t make friends that way, certainly not in England. The crowd whispered.

The frosty handshake is followed by wild press conferences

The tennis of the two, who didn’t give each other anything in sets three and four, struggled, ran, often freed themselves from dangerous residues on their own serve, remained high-class, and that was the amazing thing. Tsitsipas was hopeful, he even had a set ball at 5: 4 in the fourth set. And a second in the tie-breaker. But Kyrgios converted his second match point. A frosty handshake, still civilized both left the place. But things got wild in the press conference. It was just accusations.

Wimbledon: The frostiest handshake in Wimbledon since Lisicki/Kerber: Nick Kyrgios and Stefanos Tsitsipas after the match ball.

The frostiest handshake in Wimbledon since Lisicki/Kerber: Nick Kyrgios and Stefanos Tsitsipas after the match point.

(Photo: IMAGO/Martin Sidorjak/IMAGO/Colorsport)

Tsitispas appeared first. He spoke calmly but clearly. He said: “It’s constant bullying. He bullies his opponents. He was probably a bully at school. I don’t like bullies. I don’t like people who put other people down.” He said, “He has a very evil side to him.” He said: “It felt like a circus in a way. It tires you out. The constant talking, the constant complaining. We’re here to play tennis, not to have dialogue.” He said: “There is no other player who does that: there is no other player who is angry and frustrated all the time. I really hope we players take a stand and make this sport a better version, such behavior cannot be tolerated will.”

That he was the one who threw the ball into the audience? “That was really bad of me,” admitted Tsitsipas. He was relieved that he didn’t meet anyone. He will never do that again – “but someone caused this behavior”.

“I didn’t do anything,” said Kyrgios. “I literally did nothing.”

Kyrgios, of course, saw everything very differently. He said: “He was the one who hit balls at me.” He said: “Aside from my back and forth with the referee, I haven’t done anything disrespectful towards Stefanos.” He said, “Maybe he should try to figure out how to beat me a few times first.” At home in Australia he plays a lot of basketball himself, it’s rough with other basketball players, “these guys are dogs”. Opponents here in tennis – and it was obvious that he meant Tsitsipas – are “soft”. In general: “I didn’t do anything. I literally didn’t do anything.” He said that seriously.

Yes, it was a circus, but this time with a difference: Kyrgios didn’t throw himself off track with his tirades, his level of play was exceptional, he had strong nerves in tight phases. He actually lets his tennis speak for itself at Wimbledon. At least most. “I feel good,” he said when asked how he now sees his chances of winning the tournament. But he’s only looking at the next round. In the round of 16 he meets the American Brandon Nakashima. The 20-year-old from San Diego should now know what to expect.

In the semifinals, Kyrgios could then meet Rafael Nadal, who defeated Lorenzo Sonego 6: 1, 6: 2, 6: 4 on Friday and also did something unusual: the 22-time Grand Slam winner from Spain still had the handshake on the net Italians reprimanded, apparently because he always moaned so loudly after his punches. Confronting an opponent so directly is something you can’t remember with Nadal. The Spaniard later apologized for doing so publicly on Center Court. How do you think he would have reacted to Nick Kyrgios on this strange Saturday?

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