Tue, 06 Jun 2023

One of Kyrgios's doubles opponents unleashed their frustration after playing the hot-tempered badboy in front of a jeering crowd

Australian tennis wildman Nick Kyrgios is an "absolute kn*b" with the maturity of a ten-year-old, one of his doubles opponents has said just days after the hot-headed star claimed two of his rivals had tried to start a fight with him.

Temperamental Kyrgios, whose antics included running around the court mid-match as he was ousted from the singles tournament at the first Grand Slam of the year by Daniil Medvedev, was on typically incendiary form as he reached the men's doubles finals in front of a crudely partisan crowd in Melbourne.

In a see-saw final-eight match, Kyrgios and partner Thanasi Kokkinakis beat unimpressed Michael Venus and sidekick Tim Putz 7-5, 3-6, 6-3, with the flamboyant world number 115 winding up a crowd who regularly produced loud boos when the eventual losers were serving.

"Between serves, [they were] geeing the crowd up and getting them to cheer at times like that. I don't think that's really on," said New Zealander Venus, speaking to 1News two days after Kyrgios claimed top seeds Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic had been aggressive after he beat them alongside Kokkinakis.

"It felt like a circus out there and not really a tennis match. If it's on the other foot, old mate [Kyrgios] would have flipped his lid.

"He already did get mad there by himself. It's amazing, he can smash a ball out that hits a kid and just 'cause he gives them a racket afterwards people can say he's such a good guy."

Kyrgios attempted to atone for leaving a child in tears with a loose ball he accidentally smashed into his path by passing the youngster his racket.

The 26-year-old has been on pantomime form in his home major, and he smashed a racket, argued with the umpire and lampooned Venus's ball toss as he played up to febrile sections of the crowd who world number two Medvedev previously accused of having a "low IQ".

Some viewers were as scathing as Venus of Kyrgios's latest litany of stunts, while others said he brought welcome added entertainment to the showpiece.

"Michael Venus, who I never heard of before he was beaten by Kyrgios in the doubles, sounds like he's bitter and emotionally damaged," said one reporter.

"Sure, Kyrgios is polarizing, but he sells tickets and draws TV ratings. That's a good thing for tennis, right?"

Venus said he had received "an extreme amount" of social media messages from Kyrgios fans, as well as others voicing embarrassment at the raucous scenes.

"They'll always be his supporters and he'll always spin it in a way that helps him but at the end of the day, he's just an absolute kn*b," thundered the former French Open doubles champion, adding his belief that Kyrgios is an "unbelievable tennis player".

"On the maturity side, you see why he's never fulfilled his potential and probably never will.

"His maturity level, it's probably being generous to a 10-year-old, to say it's at about that level."

Tournament boss Craig Tiley revealed that Kyrgios and Kokkinakis's meeting with Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos in the final four will be moved to the main Rod Laver Arena because of their popularity. The Australian Open continues until January 30 2022.


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