‘Unbelievable’: Kyrgios rips reporters
Nick Kyrgios's match on Tuesday was an absolute barnburner but he still managed to outdo himself in the entertainment stakes with a press conference to remember.
After defeating fellow Australian Jordan Thompson 7-6 3-6 7-6 0-6 6-1 in an opening round thriller at Wimbledon full of dramatic momentum swings and temper tantrums, Kyrgios had his fun at several reporters' expense.
The 24-year-old's backhands were more brutal in the main interview room of the media centre at the All England Club than they were on court and no one was safe.
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Kyrgios's win sets up a second round grudge match with Rafael Nadal, who the Aussie beat en route to winning the Mexican Open earlier this year. After that clash the Spaniard accused Kyrgios of being disrespectful and the Canberra product recently told the No Challenges Remaining podcast Nadal was "super salty", while also taking aim at his former coach, uncle Toni.
But when the first question about their spicy match-up arrived, Kyrgios wasn't in a helpful mood and turned on the reporter.
Nick Kyrgios: Can I ask you what his uncle said to me first? Do you have that fact?
Reporter: I can't remember.
NK: Once you have that, then I'll answer that question. But that's good by you.
R: I don't want to quote it wrong.
NK: Did I go at him first or did his uncle come at me first?
R: I can't remember.
NK: From a journalist, I assume you get your information right.
R: Do you want to tell me?
NK: No. That's not my job.
That exchange set the tone for the wild ride to come.
During his win over Thompson, Kyrgios was heard complaining about someone in the stands being too loud, and also hit out at a person with a large camera because the sun was reflecting off the lens.
Asked to clarify exactly what he was upset with, Kyrgios asked the journalist to specify what he was talking about then said: "What's your question?"
After claiming it may have been a Wimbledon steward who was being too loud showing people to their seats, Kyrgios taunted the reporter, sarcastically saying: "That's an unbelievable question by you, like so good. So interesting."
After winning a marathon third set tiebreak 12-10, Kyrgios imploded in the fourth set, dropping it 6-0 in just 18 minutes. He pulled it together in the decider, losing just one game as he closed out the match and Kyrgios jousted with another journalist who asked what the reason was for his dramatic turnaround.
Kyrgios didn't need to even reference tennis to explain himself.
R: Can you tell us what happened in the fourth set when you were bageled, then turned it around.
NK: You just answered your own question there, didn't you?
Q: Does that show how unpredictable you are?
NK: If a boxer puts his hands down in a fight, does that mean he's not trying? Yes, no? What's that? It means he's trying or not trying?
Q: Could be either.
NK: Could be a tactic, couldn't it? How did the tactic pay off today? Good question. Oh, this is fun."
Kyrgios then snubbed the journalist who questioned him about Nadal at the start, cutting him off as he tried to go again. "The nice lady behind you had her hand up," Kyrgios said as he accepted another query from one of the many Australians in the packed room.
That overlooked journalist eventually got his second crack with the final question of the media conference, asking if he would like to get to know Nadal better, or if he wishes Nadal had a better understanding of him as a person.
"Here he is, he's excited he got the last question," Kyrgios joked.
"Not sure that me and Rafa could go down to the Dog & Fox and have a beer together. I don't know him at all. I know him as a tennis player. No, I don't know him very well. I don't know what you want me to say to the question. It's a very strange question."
Kyrgios required treatment to loosen up his hamstring during his win over Thompson and said his body is really sore after the gruelling encounter. But to ease any fears, he joked he was a "physical specimen" who will get the necessary rest and recovery before his meeting with Nadal.
This year is the first time since 2015 Kyrgios has arrived at Wimbledon unseeded and it meant he was given a tough first-round assignment against Thompson, who he praised as being one of the form players of the grass court season.
"It was incredibly tough. I think coming into today, Thommo is probably one of the most in form grass courters of the season," Kyrgios said.
"He made his first final in S'hertogenbosch. He's obviously feeling pretty comfortable on the grass.
"I looked at my draw, I was excited because we've known each other since we were about nine. We played at every age group. To see each other playing at the highest level against each other, it was pretty cool.
"I'm sore at the moment. That was one of the longest matches I've played in a long time ... it was fun."