Saturday 24 March 2018

WATCH - Nick Kyrgios slaps down reporter who asked him about exchange with umpire

Nick Kyrgios during his match against Dustin Brown on day Five of the Wimbledon Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, Wimbledon. John Walton/PA Wire
Nick Kyrgios during his match against Dustin Brown on day Five of the Wimbledon Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, Wimbledon. John Walton/PA Wire

Wayne Gardiner

Nick Kyrgios fought his corner after being asked about his conduct after a riotous second-round win over Dustin Brown at Wimbledon.

The Australian is no stranger to controversy but appeared to be reasonably well behaved as he beat Brown 5-7 (3/7) 6-1 2-6 6-4 6-4 in a rapid shoot-out of a match.

As Kyrgios flare-ups go, challenging the umpire on a double-bounce call he thought he had made ranks fairly low on the scale, but that did not stop questions about his on-court behaviour.

Asked if he was concerned that his language towards umpires may put off opponents, Kyrgios - who received a code violation at the time - countered: "What did I say to the umpire today?"

When told he said the umpire had done a horrendous job, he added: "Is that bad language? Have you never said a swear word before? Have you never said a swear word in your life?"

Trying to get an answer from his inquisitor, Kyrgios said: "Can you answer my question? So you've never sworn in your life?"

When another reporter intervened and told Kyrgios it was his job to answer his questions, Kyrgios replied: "No, it's not. He actually asked me the question. It's his question, mate. It's his question."

The pair then repeated that Kyrgios had used the word 'horrendous' and the 15th seed said: "So I didn't swear. So how is that going to affect another player by saying 'horrendous job'? I think you can figure that out, champ."

Brown exchanged words with the umpire too and Kyrgios, now appearing to be annoyed, said: "Did you see Dustin arguing with the umpire as well? Did anyone see that? Did you see Dustin arguing with him, too, or just me?"

The beaten Brown supported Kyrgios.

Told of his conqueror's annoyance, Brown said Kyrgios had been right on the double-bounce call.

"Obviously here and there we both thought that the ref didn't do a good job," Brown said.

"The one ball that Nick got definitely didn't bounce twice. Sometimes guys make bad decisions. Whatever he got upset about later on, I'm trying to continue to finish playing the match and trying to concentrate on myself. I can't be worrying about what he's cussing about or who he's being upset about.

"If it has something to do with me, then I need to deal with it. But there was no problem between me and him. As you saw when the match was finished, there was no issue. All of that has nothing to do with me.

"It's the same thing back in the day when (John) McEnroe was playing. You knew exactly what you were going to get. If something happened, he could go nuts or he couldn't or whatever. But that has nothing to do with me.

"I'm pretty sure everyone that knows Nick, knows Nick is a great tennis player. You know that if certain things happen and there are a few bad calls ... all of us have got upset on the court already for bad calls, especially in certain moments.

"The guy is 18th in the world. The guy is 21. Let the guy play tennis. I'm pretty sure in a few years, he will also have that sorted and then he's probably going to be even better."

It was unfortunate for Kyrgios that the day ended on such a note after he had played his part in a thrilling match.

He and Brown are good friends off the court and brought a lot of fun to the grass during a quick-fire five-setter that did away with convention.

Serves were rattled down with barely any regard to tossing the ball, towels were rarely called for, and both men slung their rackets in front of almost anything and everything to thrill the Court Two crowd, hitting 133 winners in the process.

Brown's departure means one of the game's real characters is no longer in the draw. Instantly recognisable because of his dreadlocks, he is a darling of the Wimbledon fans after memorable previous wins over Lleyton Hewitt and Rafael Nadal.

He will not make the second week, but this match will be spoken about for some time to come, especially Brown's between-the-legs drop-shot winner in the third set which quickly went viral.

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