Rafael Nadal and Nick Kyrgios engaged in a war of words after their Mexico Open round of 16 clash on Wednesday. Kyrgios saved three match points to win 3-6, 7-6 (7/2), 7-6 (8/6) in an ill-tempered match.
Nadal won the first set comfortably, before Kyrgios complained that he was feeling sick and called for his trainer. In the second set, the Australian managed to up his game drastically and level the match. At that juncture, he once again called the trainer due to a sore back. And once again, his game went up a notch.
Apart from that, Kyrgios even threw in an underarm serve, before taunting the crowd, which was firmly in favour of Nadal. At the end of the match, he put his finger to his ear to take a dig at the audience.
Understandably, Kyrgios’s behaviour didn’t go down well with Nadal, who barely shook hands with his opponent at the net. “He is a player who has huge talent, who could be winning Grand Slams or fighting for first position in the rankings,” the 17-time Grand Slam champion told ESPN. “But he lacks respect for the public, the opponent and himself,”
Never one to take things lying down, Kyrgios dismissed the criticism and took a dig at his opponents for his slowness between serves. “I’m different, Rafa is different,” said the 23-year-old. “He can focus on what he needs to do. He doesn’t know the journey I’ve been through, he doesn’t know anything about me. I’m not going to listen at all.
“That’s the way I play. That’s the way he plays. He’s very slow between points and the rule of the book says you have to play at the speed of the server. Rafa has the speed every time. I’m not going to comment on him and his game. I’ve got my game, he’s got his own game. We played well. That’s the sport. People are different. I’m not going to take [the criticism] into consideration at all.”