Australian tennis ‘bad boy’ Nick Kyrgios made headlines in July after he clashed with Stefanos Tsitsipas in a heated third-round match at Wimbledon. The match was full of drama and saw Tsitsipas receive a $10,000 fine for hitting a ball directly into the Centre Court crowd whilst Nick Kyrgios shouted audible obscenities towards his Greek rival. The Wimbledon encounter appears to have escalated the feud between the two tennis stars, as this week both players once again took to social media to throw digs at one another.Embed from Getty Images
The Wimbledon runner-up has had his fair share of feuds in the past which have resulted in hostile relationships with a number of ATP Tour players including Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Karen Khachanov and fellow Aussie Bernard Tomic. More recently, Nick has been involved in a back-and-forth feud with World No. 6 Stefanos Tsitsipas. Both players have met twice this year at grass-court events; the Halle Open and the third round of Wimbledon. Their match in SW19 was action-packed from start to finish and the tense atmosphere on Centre Court could be felt through TV screens. So, when did Kyrgios and Tsitsipas first lock horns and what has been said so far?
When did the Kyrgios-Tsitsipas feud start?
Even though Kyrgios and Tsitsipas have had their recent share of bitter exchanges, their relationship hasn’t always been hostile. In fact, in 2019 the pair teamed up in the doubles tournament at the ATP 500 Citi Open in Washington D.C. Unfortunately, the duo’s run ended in disaster and they were knocked out in the first round after losing two sets to one. Prior to the 2022 Citi Open this year, Nick took a swipe at Tsitsipas on social media during a conversation with the official Citi Open account. He recalled his pairing with Tsitsipas back in 2019 and stated, “I’ve had Stefanos as a partner there so it can’t get much worse than that”. Perhaps it was a toxic doubles partnership that started an ongoing two-year feud?
The point at which the Kyrgios-Tsitsipas beef became evident to tennis fans was almost a year after their pairing at the Citi Open. In July of 2021, the pair once again took to social media to air their dirty laundry. Stefanos publicly expressed his support for coaching within tennis – something that was trialled during this year’s US Open and has been mostly frowned upon throughout tennis’ history.
The Greek 9-time ATP singles titlist argued that the sport needs to “embrace” coaching and that it is needed to take a “big step forward”. Kyrgios was quick to respond to the post, calling the idea “terrible”. He then took a dig at Stefanos, saying that he has “done fine without a coach against you, my guy”.
Things get heated at Wimbledon
When Nick and Stefanos were drawn for the third round of Wimbledon, both players expressed their excitement, suggesting that things were finally looking am between them. Tsitsipas even said he was “definitely thrilled to be facing him (Kyrgios)”. But this wasn’t the case as things quickly turned sour during the match.Embed from Getty Images
A frustrated Stefanos hit a tennis ball directly into the Centre Court crowd, barely missing a spectator. This prompted Kyrgios to question the umpire as to why his opponent wasn’t disqualified for doing such an unsportsmanlike act. Tsitsipas went on to hit a number of shots directly at Nick when he approached the net as well as an anger-filled shot towards the scoreboard. Both players were heavily fined for their outbursts.
Despite being fined, Nick and Stefanos continued their feud on social media well after the match. Tsitsipas branded the Aussie as a “bully” and stated that he “bullies his opponents”. Nick quickly responded, calling the world No. 6 “soft” and a “sore loser”. But, the post Wimbledon slander didn’t stop there. Tsitsipas uploaded a collection of images from his Wimbledon run to social media, with the caption “give a man a mask and he will become his true self”.
Those exact words were tattooed on Kyrgios’ calf just a few weeks before The Championships began. Although the caption seemed cryptic to normal sport fans, those aware of the ongoing feud were quick to decipher its meaning.Embed from Getty Images
The feud continues!
This week, both players reengaged in their ongoing feud. In a video with Tennis Channel, Tsitsipas challenged ‘Kygs’ to a grudge revenge match in Greece. The Greek star said “I challenge you to come here and we play a rematch”. Nick accepted the offer, posting to his Instagram story with the caption “DONE” and “how much?”. At the moment, it is unclear as to whether or not this is friendly banter but given their rough past, Stefanos could be out for some revenge. Tsitsipas will need to bring his A-game as the 24-year-old only holds one win over Kyrgios compared to the Aussie’s 4-1 record.