Things escalated quickly for Nick Kyrgios this week during the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome — and not in a good way.
The 24-year-old Australian tennis player is known for controversies, including smashing his racket, yelling obscenities and accumulating variety of unsportsmanlike conduct, resulting in several fines. But he took his bad behavior to the next level on the clay court Thursday while playing Norway’s Casper Ruud in the second round of the tournament, which is also known as the Italian Open or Rome Masters.
Basically, Kyrgios did his best Bobby Knight impression by slamming his racket and then throwing a chair on the court after receiving an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and losing a game, per the Associated Press. He walked out on the match in the third set and defaulted, handing Ruud the automatic victory.
Here’s another angle of Kyrgios during his meltdown, which highlights fans nearby appearing to be on his side.
Warning: There is some very clear NSFW language in the video below.
Kyrgios’ freakout Thursday follows his controversial comments this week criticizing Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal while speaking with tennis writer Ben Rothenberg on the No Challenges Remaining podcast.
He accused Djokovic of just wanting to be like Roger Federer, explaining, via AAP News/ESPN:
“For me personally — I don’t care right now, I’ve come this far — I feel like he just wants to be liked so much that I just can’t stand him.
“This whole celebration thing (blowing kisses to the crowd) that he does after matches, it’s like so cringeworthy. It’s very cringeworthy.
And Kyrgios didn’t hold back about Nadal either, calling the Spanish player his polar opposite, adding:
And he’s super salty.
“Every time I’ve beaten him … when he wins, it’s fine. He won’t say anything bad, he’ll credit the opponent, ‘He was a great player’.
“But as soon as I beat him, it’s just like, ‘He has no respect for me, my fans and no respect to the game’.”
He also called Fernando Verdasco the “most arrogant person ever” who “thinks he’s God’s gift.”
Safe to say Kyrgios isn’t making too many new friends this week. Well see if he’s dealt any other penalties — or, more likely, what other penalties he’ll receive — for his behavior in the Italian Open on Thursday.
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