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Kyrgios apologises to team for being 'a bit of a d***head'

The Australian hurled expletives to his players’ box during his second-round win at the Australian Open.

Nick Kyrgios booked his place in the third round of the tournament.
Nick Kyrgios booked his place in the third round of the tournament.
Image: Dubreuil Corinne/ABACA

NICK KYRGIOS SAYS he was “a bit of a d***head” to his team during his second-round victory over Frenchman Gilles Simon at the Australian Open.

Kyrgios was unhappy with himself for aiming a brutal verbal volley towards his team in the players’ box after dropping the third set, when he slated their words of support.

According to reports, Kyrgios condemned his team for telling him to “stay tough”, twice hurling an expletive their way and sarcastically saying their suggestion was “so creative”.

“My behaviour towards my box tonight was not acceptable. In my next match, I don’t want to do that,” Kyrgios said.

I was being a bit of a d***head to them. I apologised as soon as I went back into the locker room. They don’t deserve that. They do a lot of things for me on and off the court.” 

Elsewhere, Rafael Nadal also reached the third round of the tournament on Thursday, with a 6-3, 7-6 (7/4), 6-1 winner over Argentina’s Federico Delbonis.

He dismissed the antics of Kyrgios after the Australian served up an imitation of the Spaniard at the Australian Open.

After being called out for a time violation when serving in his match, Kyrgios began acting up as he mimicked some of the between-point twitches Nadal is known to express.

His unspoken point appeared to be that world number one Nadal gets an easy ride from umpires given the time he can take to settle before serving.

tennis-2020-australian-open-day-4 Nadal in action against Federico Delbonis. Source: Jason Heidrich

Chuntering and flicking at his hair and grabbing at his shorts, Kyrgios’ obvious impersonation of Nadal even amused the chair umpire who had issued the time violation.

That was towards the end of the second set, and Simon tried a similar routine in the third when he too was picked up on his time between points, with Kyrgios creasing up in amusement.

Nadal may privately take a dim view, and it might strengthen his resolve to knock Kyrgios out of the tournament should they meet in the fourth round.

They are each a win away from making that head-to-head a reality, and when asked about Kyrgios’ conduct, Nadal said: “I really don’t care. I am here to play tennis. Honestly, I don’t care at all. If [it] was funny, good. That’s it.”

Kyrgios was asked whether he thought he made his point well to the umpire.

“I know what you’re getting at,” the Australian said in his post-match news conference.

“That’s part of my motion. So I started my service motion. There wasn’t any extracurricular activities I was doing before my serve to waste time. I mean, it happened. That’s the ref’s discretion whether I went over the clock or not.”

Kyrgios then made a revelation after he was asked whether his or Simon’s take on Nadal was the better.

“I don’t know. I don’t wear underwear, so… probably Gilles’,” Kyrgios said.

The victories of Nadal and Kyrgios followed a day of upheaval caused by the dirty rain, the latest weather problem at a tournament which has contended with bushfire smoke, heavy downpours and strong wind.

Rain mixed with a dust storm coated the Melbourne Park facilities in a fine layer of mud which took hours to clean and made many outside courts temporarily unusable.

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As action resumed Alexander Zverev, another man who has a running feud with Kyrgios, showed signs of a return to form as he downed Egor Gerasimov 7-6 (7/5), 6-4, 7-5. 

Fifth seed Dominic Thiem had a scare as he was taken to five sets by Australia’s 140th-ranked Alex Bolt before recovering his composure to win 6-2, 5-7, 6-7 (5/7), 6-1, 6-2.

A nosebleed was one of Daniil Medvedev’s biggest challenges in his win over Spanish qualifier Pedro Martinez, while Gael Monfils, who injured his racquet hand playing computer games before the tournament, downed Ivo Karlovic.

In the women’s draw, Halep beat Dart 6-2, 6-4, while Belinda Bencic knocked out former French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko — she was playing despite the sudden death of her father this month.

Two-time Major winner Garbine Muguruza, who scaled Mount Kilimanjaro in the off-season as she searches for a return to form, dispatched home hope Ajla Tomljanovic 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.

Additional reporting by - © AFP 2020

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