'There was zero respect': Tsitsipas fires 'uneducated approach' bombshell at Nick Kyrgios over fiery Wimbledon clash

Jun 16, 2023 02:29 PM IST

Stefanos Tsitsipas didn't mince his words as he talked about his fiery encounter with Nick Kyrgios in previous year's Wimbledon.

The cameras followed tennis stars on the ATP and WTA tours last year as they went around the world, competing in high-octane tournaments, providing a look behind the scenes of a top tennis professional’s life in competitive environments. The Netflix series ‘Break Point’ will release the second half of its first season in the coming week with Wimbledon on the horizon, covering the second half of the 2022 tennis season, and has produced some dramatic quotes from the players being followed last year.

Australia's Nick Kyrgios with Greece's Stefanos Tsitsipas after winning their third round match(REUTERS)
Australia's Nick Kyrgios with Greece's Stefanos Tsitsipas after winning their third round match(REUTERS)

Greek star Stefanos Tsitsipas is one of the finest players in the world, having solidified a top 10 spot for himself in the last couple of years. However, he does share a very combative relationship with several players on the tour, not least Australian Nick Kyrgios, who himself has several foul-mouthed rivalries full of bad blood across the ATP tour.

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The two met each other in the third round of Wimbledon last year on Court 1, where the atmosphere was charged throughout as the two competitors gave it their all, but not without their fair share of controversy, as Tsitsipas on more than one occasion targeted Kyrgios with over-powerful shots when the Australian was at the net. Kyrgios would pull through that match in a fourth set tiebreak, before going on to reach the final, but verbal jabs were traded in the press conference following the match.

The story returned to focus with Break Point’s teasers for the episodes covering the Championships. Tsitsipas was quoted on the show saying: “He has brought that NBA basketball attitude to tennis. I would describe it as an uneducated approach of playing tennis. But you know tennis is a gentleman’s sport, it’s all about respect. We are not playing basketball. I feel he was trying to destroy my rhythm. He kept putting his towel in my box.”

Kyrgios is a proud basketball fan, often seen practicing in NBA jerseys and wearing them casually in day-to-day life. The Australian is known for being outspoken and not shy of sharing his feeling and thoughts on any subject, and has often been criticized by other players on tour for his attitude during matches, off the court, and on social media. Tsitsipas’s comments, however, have received their own share of criticism, given his behaviour in that match against Kyrgios was not considered particularly gentlemanly either, and the Greek player has been called out for his hypocrisy following his bathroom break controversy from the previous season.

“There was zero respect coming out of my opponent that day,” continued Tsitsipas. “He kept pressing my buttons non-stop – and of course I got annoyed. He just loves attention. And if he gets none of that, it is complete destruction.”

Tsitsipas and Kyrgios did once share a positive relationship, with Kyrgios being of Greek origin himself: they have teamed up for doubles encounters in the past. However, that relationship seems to have broken down in recent months, especially in the wake of their heated Wimbledon encounter.

This year’s Championships begin on July 3. Kyrgios enters the tournament after a period away due to injury, and will be looking to back up his strong performance last year with another deep run on this occasion. Tsitsipas has not enjoyed the greatest success on grass courts, a surface which doesn’t suit his game of big and spin-heavy groundstrokes, but will be one of a large group of players who will try and dethrone Novak Djokovic at SW19.


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