There is plenty of bad blood between the pair dating back to Nadal’s objections to Kyrgios’ underarm serves at a tournament in Acapulco earlier this year, and their spat looked as if it might spill out on to court at the business end of their thrilling third set on Thursday.
Approaching the net, Kyrgios thundered a forehand straight at Nadal and did not apologise when it struck him squarely in the chest, earning himself a stern glare from his opponent.
And, in a tense post-match press conference, Kyrgios readily admitted that he had deliberately intended to hit his rival.
“I mean, the dude has got how many Slams, and how much money in the bank account?” Kyrgios said. “I think he can take a ball in the chest, bro. I’m not going to apologise to him at all.
“Yeah, I was going for him. Yeah, I wanted to hit him square in the chest.”
Nadal eventually had the last laugh, progressing to the third round with a 6-3 3-6 7-6 (5) 7-6 (3) victory, and commented afterwards that Kyrgios failed to show him “respect”.
“The history of this sport is respect,” he commented.
“It’s dangerous. Not dangerous for me, but for the line umpire or someone else. This ball can go anywhere – it hits me, no problem.”
“I’m not angry at him, but I just wanted to play a game of tennis.”
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