Nick Kyrgios has hit out at Australia’s tennis legends as he prepares to make his Wimbledon final debut this weekend.
It was a more eloquent, humble and reflective Kyrgios that fronted the media just 15 hours after learning Rafael Nadal’s injury would give him a walkover through Friday’s scheduled semi-final.
Considering he has consistently played the ‘no-one likes me and I don’t care’ card this fortnight, he was even slightly deferential to Nadal and Novak Djokovic, two players he has tangled with previously.
But when it comes to his compatriots – with one notable exception – he had little good to say.
“It’s pretty sad, I don’t get any support from these past Australian greats,” he said.
“It’s weird, it’s like they have some sort of sick obsession with tearing me down for some reason.
“They haven’t always been the nicest to me personally. They haven’t always been supportive and it’s hard for me to kind of read things that they say about me.
“I’m definitely the outcast of the Australian players and it sucks.
“If roles were reversed, if I saw (Alex) de Minaur in a final, or Jordan Thompson or Thanasi (Kokkinakis), I’d be pumped, I’d be stoked. I’d be having a pint watching going nuts.
“When I saw Ash Barty in a final, I was nothing but happy. I would never say a bad word about an Australian making a final.”
Pat Rafter and Rod Laver both called for Kyrgios to be suspended from the sport after he was hit with a six figure fine for labelling an umpire a ‘f tool’ and accusing tennis’ governing body of being ‘corrupt’.
Only this week Pat Cash accused him of ‘gamesmanship’ and ‘cheating’ while Mark Philippoussis slammed him as a bad influence on kids – and provided opponents with a free blueprint to beat him.
“The only great that’s ever been supportive of me the whole time has been Lleyton Hewitt,” added Kyrgios. “He’s our Davis Cup captain, and he kind of knows that I do my own thing.
“He knows to keep his distance and just let me do me. He just sends me a message here or there, that’s literally it. Just, Well done, keep going.”
PHOTO CAPTION: Australia’s Nick Kyrgios during his third round match against Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas at Wimbledon, which earned both players big fines for their behaviour (Reuters, via Beat Media Group subscription)