Stefanos Tsitsipas branded Nick Kyrgios “evil” and “a bully” following their explosive third-round match at Wimbledon.
The Greek fourth seed called for Kyrgios’ behaviour to be clamped down on after falling to a four-set defeat, while the Australian referred to his opponent as “soft” in response.
During a stormy encounter on Court One, Kyrgios demanded Tsitsipas be defaulted for hitting a ball into the crowd when he lost the second set.
Kyrgios, who was given a warning for swearing, argued furiously with the umpire and then the supervisor, but it was Tsitsipas who later received a point penalty for launching a second ball towards the wall in frustration.
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. Tennis is the most important thing that we are doing out there.
“Every single point that I played today I feel like there was something going on on the other side of the net.
“I’m not trying to be distracted by that, because I know it might be intentional. And 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. It triggers it so easy and so fast.
Get the best analysis and comment from our award-winning team of writers and columnists with our free newsletter.
Enter your Email Address
“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, and move on better.”
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.
“The handshake part, ‘well deserved, well done for the great match’, for sure, I need to congratulate my opponent. It’s a thing I have been doing my entire life.
“I have never finished the match and not given my hand to the opponent simply because of his performance.
“But attitude-wise, if there was a handshake for that, I would definitely be walking away from it, and that’s how it is. It’s not acceptable in any way.”
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.”