Nick Kyrgios came in for further criticism for his on-court behaviour, this time from fellow-Australian Pat Cash. The 1987 Wimbledon champion spared his mercurial countryman no punches after his ill-tempered third-round win against Greek fourth-seed Stefanos Tsitsipas. Often cringing during his commentary stint, Cash labelled the Kyrgios-show an ‘absolute circus’. Not content to have his fill, the headband-toting Aussie continued his tirade against Kyrgios, asking authorities to step in with stricter disciplinary measures.
Speaking to BBC Radio yesterday, Cash was a mouthful:
“It was absolute mayhem. He’s brought tennis to the lowest level I can see as far as gamesmanship, cheating, manipulation, abuse, aggressive behaviour to umpires, to linesmen. He was lucky to even get through the first set, he should have been defaulted in the first set,” quotes the Daily Mail.
Disgusted with the goings-on inside Court One, the 57-year-old seemed at his wit’s end:
“The gamesmanship. The abuse he was giving. Tsitsipas would make a line call and he’d go up there and start complaining, he’d be in his face – that’s part of gamesmanship, that’s the sort of stuff he does and I think there’s a limit. I have no problems with a bit of gamesmanship but, when it gets to that level, I think it’s just out of control. As it was, the umpire lost control. The ball kids were running across the court as Kyrgios was serving, he didn’t slow down for any of that stuff. Tsitsipas got sucked right into it – so it was entertaining and fascinating, but for me it’s gone too far now,” he added.
Kyrgios has long been a divisive figure, regaling and repulsing audiences with equal doses of sublime tennis and senseless tantrums. It’s all part of the Kyrgios playbook, however. The brittle Greek clearly was thrown-off his game by Kyrgios’ incessant antics. With tensions bubbling underfoot, his frustrations boiled over when he skied the Australian’s underhand serve well beyond the baseline. Shook and stirred, Tsitsipas railed against the 27-year-old to the match umpire, but to no avail. Speaking after the match, Tsitsipas focused attention on Kyrgios’ ‘evil side’, labelling him a bully:
“Yeah, it’s constant bullying, that’s what he does. He bullies 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, which if it’s exposed, it can really do a lot of harm and bad to the people around him,” quotes CNN.
The unseeded Australian brushed aside the Greek’s barbs, tossing small darts of his own:
“I don’t know what to say. I’m not sure how I bullied him. He was the one hitting balls at me, he was the one that hit a spectator, he was the one that smacked it out of the stadium…We’re not cut from the same cloth. I go up against guys who are true competitors. I’ve got many friends in the locker room, 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,” quotes CNN.
Kyrgios goes up against American Brandon Nakashima in the fourth round. Looking to cash in on the Aussie’s box-office qualities, Wimbledon organizers have opened doors to Centre Court for their skirmish.