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Nick Kyrgios labels Stefanos Tsitsipas ‘soft’ and reacts to ‘evil bully’ accusation at Wimbledon

Nick Kyrgios called Stefanos Tsitsipas “soft” after the Australian rejected accusations that he was “evil” and a “bully” following their heated third-round match at Wimbledon.

Kyrgios was involved in a constant argument with the umpire during his fiery four-set win and insisted that he did nothing to “disrespect” his opponent during the contest.

Tsitsipas, the tournament’s fourth seed, was upset in four dramatic sets by Kyrgios that saw both players handed code violations after losing their temper.

The Greek player apologised after whacking a ball into the crowd in frustration, narrowly avoiding the head of a spectator, but said he had been “triggered” by the behaviour of Kyrgios on the other side of the net.

“He’s that soft, to come in here and say I bullied him, that’s just soft,” Kyrgios said. “We’re not cut from the same cloth. If he’s affected by that today, then that’s what’s holding him back, because someone can just do that and that’s going to throw him off his game like that. I just think it’s soft.”

Tsitsipas also responded to the “constant talking” from Kyrgios by aiming balls at his opponent. “I don’t know what to say. I’m not sure how I bullied him,” Kyrgios added. “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 didn’t do anything. I was actually like, apart from me just going back and forth to the umpire for a bit, I did nothing towards Stefanos today that was disrespectful, I don’t think. I was not drilling him with balls.”

Tsitsipas, who appeared at the post-match press conference before Kyrgios, complained: “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.”

The spat between Kyrgios and Tsitsipas escalted after they shook hands at the net

(Getty Images)

Tsitsipas said that “someone needs to sit down” with Kyrgios following the match and suggested players should get together to enforce a rule change regarding on-court behaviour.

“I like what his tennis has to bring to our sport,” he added. “Like he’s very different. That’s not a bad thing. But I don’t think there has been a single match I have played with him that he was behaving that way. There comes a point where you really get tired of it, let’s say.

“The constant talking, the constant complaining. I mean, I’m about to serve, and there is a big gap there that there is no tennis being played, which is the most important thing in the court. We are there to play tennis.”

Kyrgios appeared at his press conference wearing a t-shirt featuring Dennis Rodman, the infamous ‘bad boy’ of the NBA. “I was just going out there and competing at Wimbledon, and I did it. It was successful. Everything I did worked. It was like I’m not going out there to be his friend.

“No, that’s not what I’m going to give to him. I’m just going to be myself. I’m not trying to be Dennis Rodman. Trying to be myself.”


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