Wimbledon 2022: The Kyrgios show continues in London as he “bullies” Stefanos Tsitsipas
The controversial Australian star pleaded innocence after being accused of bullying and says his opponent should have been defaulted.
Nick Kyrgios was accused of being a tennis “bully” by his opponent after overcoming Stefanos Tsitsipas in a dramatic, ill-tempered affair to reach Wimbledon’s last 16. Kyrgios produced an outstanding display to rally after losing the first set on No. 1 Court, eventually prevailing 6-7 (2-7) 6-4 6-3 7-6 (9-7) in an incident-filled match.
Why was Kyrgios so angry with the umpire?
It was an incredible outburst from Kyrgios after a frustrated Tsitsipas struck a ball into the crowd at the end of the second set, narrowly missing a spectator. The Australian immediately called for his opponent to be defaulted, recalling Novak Djokovic’s contentious exit from the 2020 US Open after he had accidentally hit a line judge in frustration after dropping a game.
Kyrgios could be heard calling the umpire a “disgrace”, and then, after Tsitsipas had been let off with a warning, the unseeded talent asked: “Are you dumb?”
He then hit out at the umpire, yelling: “What are you talking about? Novak hit someone, it is the same, it happened right there.
“Bring out more supervisors, I’m not done. You can bring them all out, I don’t care. I’m not playing until we get to the bottom of it. What happened to Novak when he hit the ball into a girl? She was injured. You can’t hit a ball into the crowd and hit someone and not get defaulted.”
But the drama was far from done as Tsitsipas flew into a rage of his own early in the third, having been hit with a point deduction for wildly firing another ball towards the crowd – but hitting the scoreboard instead – after Kyrgios produced a mischievous underarm serve when holding to love.
The fourth seed’s frustration was evident as he then appeared to hit a couple of shots right at Kyrgios to boos from spectators, who vociferously cheered every point for the Australian.
But after producing some outstanding tennis to end the aggravated Tsitsipas’ hopes of winning a first grand slam title, Kyrgios said he had no problems with the Greek, whom he played doubles with at Wimbledon in 2019.
“Honestly, it was a hell of an atmosphere, an amazing match, I honestly felt like the favourite coming in; I played him a couple of weeks ago, but I knew it was going to be a tough match,” he said. “He’s a hell of a player, I had my own tactics out there – he knows how to play me, he’s beaten me once, and obviously I’ve had success, so it was a hell of a match.
“I’m just super happy to be through, he was getting frustrated at times and it’s a frustrating sport, that’s for sure. I know you all think you can play, but it’s very frustrating, whatever happens on the court, I love him.”
Tsitsipas calls out Kyrgios as a bully
Tsitsipas had a very different version of events.
“It’s constant bullying. That’s what he does. He bullies his opponents. He probably was a bully at school”
Kyrgios now holds a 4-1 head-to-head lead over Tsitsipas, having also got the better of the world number five on the grass at the Halle Open earlier this month.
The 27-year-old also previously courted controversy during his run to the fourth round when he spat in the direction of a “disrespectful” fan during his first-round win over Paul Jubb.
But Kyrgios claimed his antics serve to drive interest in the sport, adding: “It’s amazing, everywhere I go I seem to have full stadiums. The media loves to write that I’m bad for the sport, but clearly not.”