Thursday 22 August 2019

'Why would I apologise? How much money does he have in the bank?' - Nick Kyrgios admits he deliberately struck ball at Rafa Nadal

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 04: Rafael Nadal of Spain shakes hands at the net with Nick Kyrgios of Australia after their Men's Singles second round match (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 04: Rafael Nadal of Spain shakes hands at the net with Nick Kyrgios of Australia after their Men's Singles second round match (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Rafael Nadal and Nick Kyrgios put on a spectacular show in their second round encounter on Wimbledon's Centre Court, before the bitter rivals continuing their war of words after the match.

Nadal prevailed to win 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 7-6 in an epic encounter, with Kyrgios more than a match for the world No.2 for more than three hours in front of an enthralled crowd.

Inevitably, there were flash points between a duo who have not tried to hide their dislike for each other, with Kyrgios firing a shot at Nadal's body when he was at the net a talking point in the post match press conferences.

Kyrgios was unforgiving as he dismissed suggestions he lacked class by not offering a wave of apology to Nadal after the incident.

"Why would I apologise?" Kyrgios said. "I didn't hit him. Hit his racket, no? Why would I apologise? I won the point.

"I don't care. Why would I apologise? I mean, the dude has got how many slams, how much money in the bank account? I think he can take a ball to the chest. I'm not going to apologise to him at all.

"I was going for him. I wanted to hit him square in the chest. Like, he's got decent hands."

That was not the first time that Kyrgios had aimed to hit the ball as hard as he could at Nadal and the Spaniard suggested the antics could have endangered ball kids or line judges.

"The history of this sport is about respect and is about playing fair during the whole time," said Nadal.

"I don't say Nick does this stuff to bother the opponent, but it is true that sometimes he's dangerous.

"When he hits the ball like this, is dangerous. It is not dangerous for me, it is dangerous for a line referee, dangerous for a crowd.

"When you hit the ball like this, you don't know where the ball goes.

"I know he's a big talented player, but I am a professional player too. I know when you hit this kind of ball, the ball can go anywhere.

"This time the ball went in, almost hit me, no problem. I am professional, so I know how to avoid this, but another one, the ball goes straight to the back. So (it would) have been a dangerous moment for the line umpire.

"That ball hits an eye or something like this, is a problem. That's it. Is not about that I am angry about him at all. It's about I want to play a match of tennis. Sometimes it is difficult."

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LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 04: Rafael Nadal of Spain toasts his win against Nick Kyrgios at Wimbledon (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

One of the reasons for the annoyance from Kyrgios appeared to be annoyed by Nadal's habit of talking long periods between each point, with the Aussie sarcastically suggesting he was 'super quick' before adding:

"I'm serving, I'm like starting my routine. Rafa said, 'Stop'. The rule is like play to the speed of the server. Why do I have to wait for him to get into his rhythm every time?

"I got angry at the ref. He's like, 'No, I'll tell him what I want to tell him'.

"I was like, 'Oh, a little bit of a power trip there'. He obviously feels pretty important sitting up in the chair.

"He was just terrible. I thought the way he handled the match was just bad.

"I just don't think he was up to scratch today. That's most definitely not why I lost."

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