The father of Nick Kyrgios has accused Wimbledon’s umpires of double standards and claimed his controversial son would have been instantly disqualified on Saturday night if he had smashed a ball into the crowd as his opponent did.
Kyrgios, who is himself facing a second Wimbledon fine in a week for his foul-mouthed antics, was outraged when Stefanos Tsitsipas lashed out at the end of the second set and demanded he was instantly awarded the match.
Umpire Damien Dumusois instead only issued a code violation against Tsitsipas.
“My son would have been defaulted,” Giorgos Kyrgios told the BBC. “You’ve got to draw the line for everybody. I hate to see it for anyone. I feel sorry for all of them – the pressure is so much.”
Kyrgios, who was fined $10,000 (€9,600) for spitting towards a spectator in the first round, went on to win the match and has been rewarded with Centre Court billing today against the American Brandon Nakashima.
Tsitsipas branded Kyrgios a “bully” with an “evil” streak following his four-set defeat, in what was one of Wimbledon’s most bad-tempered matches ever.
Kyrgios and Nakashima are both unseeded for the tournament but Wimbledon – whose court selections also take into account the BBC’s preferences – have plumped for Kyrgios’ box-office appeal ahead of several players above him in the rankings.
Giorgos Kyrgios argued his son’s match against Tsitsipas had been “good for tennis” even though most experts thought their furious antics had gone much too far.
“You’re going to cross the line when you’re swearing at the umpire in conversation and you’re certainly crossing the line when you’re hitting a ball into the crowd like that,” said Tim Henman, who is on the All England Club’s committee.
“There’s no doubt Tsitsipas is extremely lucky. If that ball hits a spectator, certainly in the head, you’re going to be disqualified. He’s got a point penalty and when you hear him talking about the frustration in the cold light of day, he’s lost the plot.
“Playing against Kyrgios, you’ve got to expect those antics. He’ll get fined, but Tsitsipas is the one who’s been distracted. He’s the one who’s lost.”
As well as being warned for swearing, Kyrgios asked the umpire if he was “dumb”, while Tsitsipas lost his composure and tried to hit his opponent with a smash.
Mats Wilander, a seven-time Grand Slam champion, was among those unimpressed.
“Is it entertaining? Yes. Is it respectful? No,” Wilander told Eurosport.
“Is the tennis great at times? Unbelievable, because both players are such good players. And Kyrgios is so talented.
“I’ve never seen anything like it. I’m not sure I want to see something like that again to be honest, because I don’t think this is what we want to promote in tennis. We want to not promote it as entertainment.
“We want to promote it as inspirational, educational, but this is what people maybe want to see. I’m not sure I’m a big fan of what’s going on to be honest.”
Kyrgios has already received multiple fines in his tennis career and responded to Tsitsipas’ “bully” charge by calling the allegations “soft” and claiming the Greek player had “serious issues”.
Tsitsipas even admitted deliberately trying to hit the constantly chuntering Kyrgios with the ball during rallies “just to stop” him.
“I wish we could all come together and put a rule in place,” said the 23-year-old.
“I don’t know. Something about talking. Why would you be talking while you’re playing? It makes no sense. You are out there to do your job. There is no other player that does this.”
Tsitsipas, who shared a frosty handshake with his controversial opponent at the end, added: “It’s constant bullying, that’s what he does. He bullies the 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.
Kyrgios played some breathtaking shots in his 6-7 (2), 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (7) victory, but as usual his behaviour overshadowed his tennis.
Unrepentant as ever, he said: “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.
“I just don’t understand what I did. Like I did nothing towards him. I didn’t think I was aggressive towards him.
“I wasn’t hitting balls at his face. I don’t know. I didn’t feel like there was any anger.
“I had no anger towards Stef today on the match. I don’t know where it’s coming from, to be honest.
“If he’s affected by that today, then that’s what’s holding him back. I just think it’s soft.” (© Telegraph Media Group Limited 2022)
Wimbledon, Live, BBC, 11.00am
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