Just 20, Nick Kyrgios is already one of the most controversial figures in tennis. The Australian is part shotmaker, part showman and part clown, as we have seen this Wimbledon.
Yesterday, during a 4-set loss to Richard Gasquet, Kyrgios had all his quirks on display. Hugging ballkids, arguing with the officials and at one point was visibly tanking, letting the Frenchman’s serves go flying by without any effort of returning them.
When asked about the lack of effort, Kyrios became contentious:
Q. A subject from the second set. It seemed to us you stopped trying for a game. You weren’t returning shots. You weren’t going for the shots. Can you explain what happened, in your words?
NICK KYRGIOS: I mean, today, there was a lot of ups and downs. Obviously, you know, it was a tough, tough time, especially when, you know, he’s not missing any balls. I’m getting frustrated myself. I feel as if I’m playing not how I should be playing. I’m angry at myself.
Obviously I wasn’t really happy with the way I was performing out there. I obviously lacked a bit of energy.
I thought I responded well, though, to even come back and won the third set. Obviously 64 in the fourth set serving. Yeah, I mean…
Q. So you’re not denying that, that you stopped for that game?
NICK KYRGIOS: Denying what?
Q. You’re denying that you stopped playing that game?
NICK KYRGIOS: I kept playing.
Q. For that moment, you weren’t returning.
NICK KYRGIOS: And that’s coming from you? That’s your opinion.
THE MODERATOR: Next question.
Q. I was going to ask you about the same moment. Like what happened after that code violation? What happened in the next game?
NICK KYRGIOS: Just frustration. I mean, it’s tough out there. You know, I don’t really know what else to say.
You know, I’m not perfect out there. I’m going to have ups and downs. That’s the way you respond from that. I think it takes some serious balls to respond the way I did.
Q. Did the crowd misjudge you when they started booing?
NICK KYRGIOS: Yeah, and then I started playing well and they started cheering.
Did you hear that, too?
NICK KYRGIOS: That’s okay.
Q. It’s rare to hear that at Wimbledon.
NICK KYRGIOS: Okay.
Q. Can you give a proper explanation why you didn’t return those serves? Looked like you were tanking the set. A proper explanation, please.
NICK KYRGIOS: What’s the question?
Q. Looked like you weren’t returning the serves.
NICK KYRGIOS: Do you want to try to return Richard Gasquet’s serve? I’ll give you the racquet and we’ll see how many times you can return his serve also.
Q. You’re a professional tennis player. I’m not.
NICK KYRGIOS: Okay. He served too good.
Q. So you didn’t even try to return. You walked away on a couple occasions.
THE MODERATOR: We’re going to take two questions at a time.
Q. A proper explanation as to why you didn’t return the serve.
NICK KYRGIOS: How many aces did he hit that game? One? That game, did he hit one ace?
Q. Is that an explanation?
NICK KYRGIOS: Did he hit one ace? I’m asking you the question.
Q. I don’t know.
THE MODERATOR: The lady over in the corner.
Q. Nick, do you want to deny it?
NICK KYRGIOS: No.
Q. You don’t want to deny it, deny the accusation?
NICK KYRGIOS: Deny what?
Q. The accusation being put forward that you didn’t try that game in the second set.
NICK KYRGIOS: No, of course, I tried.
Q. That game you’re saying you tried?
NICK KYRGIOS: He hit serve past me as an ace. That’s too good. That’s too good.
Q. It looked like you didn’t move?
NICK KYRGIOS: I did move.
THE MODERATOR: Can I just say, I said at the start, we’re going to do hands up and take two questions per person. It’s going to be very difficult to organize this for 15 minutes if everybody keeps asking a number of questions.
I’d like to let the lady here ask the next question. Thank you very much for your respect to the press conference.
Roger Federer added his thoughts, saying, “I think we shouldn’t dig too deep into those kind of things. If you told me he did an entire set, plus more, plus this, I’d say, Okay, it’s a bit much probably. But I just watched the end of the third, the end of the fourth. He was fighting then. He was really wanting to win. He should have been in the fifth at the end. In my opinion, it was a great match and it was close. The fans got their money’s worth, in my opinion. It was a close match last year. He saved nine match points against Richard. Today two.”
Kyrgios now heads back home to prepare for the summer hardcourts ready for Australia’s home tie against Kazakhstan.
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