Australian tennis player Nick Kyrgios has launched a stunning verbal attack on Rafael Nadal and his uncle, Novak Djokovic, Fernando Verdasco and the fans who boo him little more than a week before the start of the French Open.
Speaking to tennis writer Ben Rothenberg on the ‘No Challenges Remaining’ podcast, Kyrgios got a number of gripes off his chest that were aimed at the leading players in the sport, with Nadal receiving the harshest criticism.
The 24-year-old has previous with the Spaniard, having been accused of "lacking respect for the public, the opponent and himself" following their match at the Mexican open in March, which Kyrgios won.
As a result, world No 36 Kyrgios has launched a stinging riposte of the reigning French Open champion, labelling him “super salty” particularly when he loses.
"When he wins, it’s fine,” Kyrgios said of the 17-time Grand Slam champion. “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’.”
Kyrgios did not keep his criticism to just Nadal, with his former trainer and uncle Toni also coming under fire after he too hit out at the Australian.
"It’s not a good look for you, I feel,” he added. “And then uncle Toni came out saying, 'He (Kyrgios) 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’."
Turning his attentions to 15-time Grand Slam champion Djokovic, Kyrgios attacked his apparent desire to be Roger Federer as “cringeworthy”, claiming that the Serbian was desperate to be liked by everyone – though he did stress that Djokovic is “an unbelievable player” and “a champion of the sport”.
"I just feel like he has a sick obsession with wanting to be liked. He just wants to be like Roger," he 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 that he does after matches, it’s like so cringeworthy. It’s very cringeworthy."
While Kyrgios spoke glowingly of Britain’s Andy Murray, one of his closer friends on the tour, he did say that his record of 11 wins to 25 losses against Djokovic was “embarrassing”, though his he wasn’t so generous in discussing Spanish veteran Fernando Verdasco who he labelled “the most arrogant person ever”.
But perhaps in the biggest attack of the lot, Kyrgios turned on the tennis fans who have booed and criticised him for his on-court actions, having been prone to tantrums throughout his career and on multiple occasions been accused of giving up.
"These guys show me no respect. None," he said. "So why would I show you respect? For instance, when I’m taking matches, I don’t care that you paid for tickets. You guys treat me like crap anyway."
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