Wimbledon 2022: Nick Kyrgios fires back after Stefanos Tsitsipas called him a bully

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Nick Kyrgios has returned serve at bitter tennis rival Stefanos Tsitsipas after being branded a bully, sparking a divided response from fans and greats of the game.

The controversial Aussie triumphed over the Greek world No.5 in one of the most spiteful matches ever seen at Wimbledon on Saturday with the pair repeatedly clashing with the umpire and each other.

Both players received code violations for unsportsmanlike conduct during the third round clash and have since been fined.

Tsitsipas was slugged $US10,000 ($A14,700) for hitting a ball into the stands which narrowly missed spectators while Kyrgios copped a $US4,000 ($A6,000) for his antics, on top of his hefty first round fine for spitting.

Hostilities intensified after the match when Tsitsipas labelled his opponent a bully in his post-match press conference as an ugly war of words exploded off-court and Kyrgios fired back.

‘He’s that soft. To come in here and say I bullied him, that’s just soft,’ Kyrgios said. 

Nick Kyrgios (pictured with his girlfriend Costeen Hatzi) reignited a war of words with Stefanos Tsitsipas after Saturday’s spiteful clash at Wimbledon

‘We’re not cut from the same cloth. 

‘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.’ 

The world No.40 returned serve after Tsitsipas called for a cease of Kyrgios’ explosive on-court antics.

‘This needs to stop. It’s not okay. Someone needs to sit down with him,’ Tsitsipas told reporters.

‘I really hope all us players can come up with something and make this a cleaner version of our sport, have this kind of behaviour not accepted, not allowed, not tolerated.’ 

Kyrgios fired back, bragging to Channel Nine that he has more friends in the locker room than Tsitsipas.

‘I’m not really sure which guys he’s going to round up as he doesn’t have too many mates on tour, to be brutally honest,’ he said.

Kyrgios’ antics on and off the court at Wimbledon have divided opinion.

As former Australian Wimbledon Pat Cash launched a scathing attack of Kyrgios, Today show host Karl Stefanovic leapt to his defence on Monday morning.

‘The Greek player says Nick has an evil side. This guy is an absolute whinger, isn’t he?’ he said.

Stefanos Tsitsipas (left) branded Nick Kyrgios (right) a bully after their match. The Australian hit back by claiming Tsitsipas was soft and had few friends on the tennis circuit

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Stefanos Tsitsipas (left) branded Nick Kyrgios (right) a bully after their match. The Australian hit back by claiming Tsitsipas was soft and had few friends on the tennis circuit

Federal opposition frontbencher and former minister Stuart Robert disagreed.

‘I think he could help his own reputation by probably less lip and greater backhand,’ he said.

Stefanovic hit back: ‘Come on, Stuart. He’s an entertainer.’

Robert argued former tennis bad boy John McEnroe was more than just a player, he was an entertainer. 

‘At least McEnroe had a bit more style about him,’ he pointed out. 

Television presenter Tom Tilley conceded while Kyrgios is amazing to watch, he wished he was a better sport.  

‘This is the Kyrgios we have, this is the Kyrgios we have to love as he moves on in the tournament,’ he said.

Stefanovic agreed.

‘You have to love the whole him. And Tsitsipas at the end of the day he might be a complete tosser but he is a beautiful looking man.

Kyrgios reacted to the furore of his antics late Sunday with a laughing emoji, sparking more response from fans.

‘Go deep into this Nick. Kids with a bit of fire need to see what they can bring to tennis,’ one replied.

Another added: ‘Love your work mate, you make the sport enjoyable. Nothing wrong with passion in a competition.’

Nick Kyrgios has sparked more divisive opinion with an emoji tweet

Nick Kyrgios has sparked more divisive opinion with an emoji tweet

But not everyone was as supportive. 

‘Why is it that every time a match gets tight, you create a circus? Jawing away at everyone and anyone, verbally abusing officials, etc. Why not just be quiet, put your head down, and compete?,’ one fan commented.

It comes after Pat Cash launched a blistering attack on Kyrgios, accusing his fellow Australian of dragging tennis down to new depths.

‘It was absolute mayhem,’ the 1987 Wimbledon champion said on BBC radio on Sunday.

‘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.

‘Something’s got to be done about it – it’s just an absolute circus. Is it entertaining? Yeah, possibly. It’s gone to the absolute limit now.’

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Kyrgios was one of four Australians to progress to the fourth round on Saturday,

At one point the Australian demanded his opponent be defaulted for hitting a ball into the stands and narrowly missing a spectator and briefly refused to play on unless Tsitsipas was thrown out of the tournament.

The Greek star admitted trying to hit Kyrgios with the ball on several occasions and branded him ‘evil’ and a ‘bully’ after the match. 

Fans missed out on seeing the controversial handshake and wasted no time venting their fury online.

The Greek world No.5 refused to make eye contact with the Australian after the match - and called for a rule change to curb his opponent's fiery behaviour

The Greek world No.5 refused to make eye contact with the Australian after the match – and called for a rule change to curb his opponent’s fiery behaviour

But the crucial moment when they shook hands after the Australian’s 6-7, 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 win never went to air, and viewers were infuriated.

‘BBC not showing the handshake is the one thing I was so ready for, urgghhh!’ tweeted David Hall.

Tennis writer Ricky Dimon summed up the feelings of thousands of fans when he wrote, ‘TV producers should be fired IMMEDIATELY. Showing random people in the crowd instead of post-match handshakes has been an ongoing problem in tennis, and today’s offense was probably the worst ever.’

Lewis Steele added commentators’ prejudice against the Australian to his complaint about the missed footage.

‘Horrific anti-Kyrgios bias in commentary – no alternate views offered,’ he tweeted. ‘Cameras miss the handshake after one of the most heated battles in years.’

Sean Walsh agreed on both counts: ‘An amazing spectacle from Kygrios and Tsitsipas in spite of some strange broadcasting from the BBC,’ he tweeted.

‘Supremely unfair commentary and a bizarre directorial choice not to show the handshake!’ 

‘Wimbledon explodes over Kyrgios handshake!’ wrote Robin of Loxley. ‘The absolute bias coverage and in particular that of the legendary ‘super brat’ John McEnroe and his hypocrisy of the various spats was breathtaking.’ 

Fans were in disbelief at the missing footage - and also called out the commentary team for 'supremely unfair commentary' against Kyrgios

Fans were in disbelief at the missing footage – and also called out the commentary team for ‘supremely unfair commentary’ against Kyrgios

The Aussie was branded 'evil' by his opponent after the pair repeatedly clashed with officials and each other - with Kyrgios at one stage briefly refusing to play on unless Tsitsipas was chucked out of the tournament for smashing a ball into the crowd (pictured)

The Aussie was branded ‘evil’ by his opponent after the pair repeatedly clashed with officials and each other – with Kyrgios at one stage briefly refusing to play on unless Tsitsipas was chucked out of the tournament for smashing a ball into the crowd (pictured)

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Aussie tennis great Todd Woodbridge led a chorus of past and present players who couldn’t believe their eyes, writing: ‘How can you miss the handshake after that match?’

Former American star Andy Roddick added, ‘How on earth did they miss the handshake?’

Had the broadcaster covered the moment, fans would have seen a very revealing interaction between the players at the net.

The handshake was very brief, with Tsitsipas refusing to make eye contact with Kyrgios in what can only be described as a very half-hearted effort that left the Aussie angry.

‘I can officially say I have never given a handshake like that in my life,’ he said after the win.

‘Every time I’ve lost, when I defaulted against (Casper) Ruud (at Indian Wells this year) I looked people in the eye and I say, ‘Well done today, you were the better man’, and he wasn’t man enough to do that today.’  

The Greek was also furious after the match and called for a rule change designed to curb the Aussie’s fiery behaviour.

‘Every single point that I played today I feel like there was something going on on the other side of the net,’ he said.

‘That’s his way of manipulating the opponent and making you feel distracted, in a way. There is no other player that does this. There is no other player that is so upset and frustrated all the time with something.

‘I really hope all us players can come up with something and make this a cleaner version of our sport, have this kind of behaviour not accepted, not allowed, not tolerated.’



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