Nick Kyrgios Called ‘Evil Bully’ by Tsitsipas After Stormy Encounter

For all the drama that surrounds forever Nick Kyrgios, there has been one undeniable constant in his season so far: his tennis. In silence, Kyrgios plays one of the best tennis players of his life and although he competed sparingly, his level was high almost every time he took to the court this year. As a result, he has put himself in position for the deep grand slam run that has eluded him so far in his career.

But when he’s constantly surrounded by so much toxicity, it can sometimes seem like the hardest task in the world to just talk about Kyrgios’ tennis. In a match that lived up to all expectations, from gripping quality tennis to farcical, unhinged mayhem, Kyrgios penetrated deep into Stefanos Tsitsipas’ psyche and ultimately emerged victorious by beating Tsitsipas, the number 4 seed, 6-7 (2) , 6-4, 6-3 7-6 (7) to reach the fourth round of Wimbledon

Afterward, Tsitsipas called Kyrgios a bully and suggested the tour put an end to his on-track antics: “It’s constant bullying, that’s what he does. He bullies the opponents. He was probably a bully himself at school. I don’t like bullies. I don’t like people who put other people down. He also has some good qualities in his character. But he also has a very bad side.”

After declaring his love for Tsitsipas in his court interview, Kyrgios’ tone changed when he read Tsitsipas’ comments at his press conference. “I would also be quite upset if I lost to someone two weeks in a row. Maybe he should figure out how to beat me a few more times first and then do that.”

Kyrgios was clearly the better player throughout the first set, but Tsitsipas kept his head down and concentrated on himself, stealing the tie-break at the end. It is fair to say that the calm and tranquility did not last very long.

From the start, Kyrgios argued with the umpire, Damien Dumusois, over line calls. He raved about the change of ending. He called people with whom he disagreed stupid. But his tennis was good too – he took the second set with a stroke of genius, avoiding Tsitsipas’ smash for a forehand passing shot winner.

When that set fell away from him, Tsitsipas exploded. He fired a shot into the lower part of the crowd, just below his box, and was very lucky not to hit anyone. Outraged that Tsitsipas only got a code violation, Kyrgios spent his time between sets yelling loudly at the referee, the supervisor and anyone else who would listen, trying to get Tsitsipas out of the match. “You can’t hit a ball in the crowd and hit someone, and not fail,” he barked. As Kyrgios screamed, Tsitsipas told the referee that his opponent had “zero respect”.

With the competition level and Kyrgios on his mind, Tsitsipas’ mind only sank further into madness. At 3-1, 40-0 Kyrgios threw a serve under the arms, to which Tsitsipas responded by sprinting to the ball and hitting it high up the back fence. While Kyrgios grinned, Tsitsipas was handed a code violation and a point penalty. Later in the set, Tsitsipas hit the ball twice as hard as he could at Kyrgios while he was at the net and narrowly missed him.

Stefanos Tsitsipas speaks with the referee during the match
Stefanos Tsitsipas speaks with the umpire during the match. Photo: Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

The toxicity threatened to derail the match, but the tennis paid off. After looking like he was mentally out of the game, Tsitsipas fought on admirably, racking up four break points in the opening game of the fourth set, then constantly pressuring Kyrgios to serve. After a spectacular triple break point at 3-4, Kyrgios was completely unnerved deep into the fourth set tiebreak. He crushed a series of forehands to retrieve the match point, then finished with a delicate drop shot.

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The pair briefly shook hands, but Tsitsipas said his handshake was just an acknowledgment of Kyrgios tennis: “As for attitude, if there was a handshake for it I would definitely walk away from it, and so it is. It’s not acceptable in any way.”

His comments didn’t go down well with Kyrgios, who was adamant that Tsitsipas was behaving much worse than him: “I just think he’s making that match about me, like he’s in serious trouble, like serious. I’m good in the locker room. I have many friends, just to let you know. I’m actually one of the most loved. I’m ready. He is not loved. Let’s just put that in there,” he said.

In addition to all that messiness, there is one obvious consequence. Kyrgios left No 1 Court with a monumental win that gave him one of the greatest opportunities of his career. He now faces Brandon Nakashima for a spot in his first Wimbledon quarter-final since his breakthrough in 2014. The highest number remaining in his section of the draw is 19th-seeded Alex de Minaur, and none of the remaining players there have. made a grand slam semifinal. Kyrgios is clearly the favourite.

Opportunities like this don’t come often. It remains to be seen whether he will continue this progress or whether the chaos he is creating will eventually envelop him as well.

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