‘Bad guy’ Kyrgios hits back at Mr ‘knows everything’ Johnny Mac
KEEP QUIET: Nick Kyrgios could not silence the boo-brigade as he blew a two-set lead to lose to Italian Andreas Seppi in five sets in their second round Australian Open match. NICK KYRGIOS hit back at John McEnroe’s suggestion that he had stopped trying late in his defeat at the Australian Open yesterday, sarcastically suggesting the tennis great turned TV pundit “knows everything”.
The 21-year-old Australian blamed a knee injury and poor conditioning for his lack of mobility around the court towards the end of the five-set second-round defeat by Italian Andreas Seppi.
Clearly upset after blowing a two-set lead and failing to convert a fifth-set match point, Kyrgios bridled when informed that McEnroe had said he had stopped trying and that it was “a black eye for the sport”.
“Well, my body was sore. I was hurting,” the14th seed said. “I mean, John McEnroe, was it John McEnroe? Good on him. Great career. Good on him.”
Kyrgios’s 2016 season was ended by an ATP suspension for “not trying” at the Shanghai Masters, a ban that was curtailed when he agreed to see a sports psychologist.
It was not the first time McEnroe had criticised Kyrgios’s attitude, either. After a listless effort in his loss to Andy Murray at Wimbledon last year, the American said Kyrgios had to act fast before his problem got “chronic and irreparable”. Yesterday’s criticism clearly stuck in Kyrgios’s craw and he returned to it when asked to describe the pain in his knee.
“I don’t know, mate. Ask Johnny Mac,” he said. “He knows everything.”
Kyrgios again referred reporters to McEnroe when asked whether he had been in touch with his sports psychologist this week.
“Johnny Mac will know, mate. Just talk to him. He knows everything.”
The undoubtedly talented world No 13 said the loss to Seppi had taught him that he needed to revisit his decision not to work with a coach.
“The coach is always a question mark for me,” he said.
Although given rousing support by the partisan crowd on Hisense Arena for most of the match against Seppi, there was a reminder of how he divides his compatriots with a few boos after his defeat.
“Obviously it’s not the greatest thing to hear. Pretty banged up, my body,” he said. As for the rough treatment he gets at the hands of the local media, Kyrgios feigned to have no complaints in that department.
“No. I deserve it,” he said. “I deserve it. I’m a bad guy.”
Meanwhile, Angelique Kerber celebrated her 29th birthday with a shaky 6-2, 6-7(3), 6-2 win over Carina Witthoeft.
In today’s matches, Milos Raonic needs no reminding about the threat Gilles Muller will pose in their secondround, having lost both of their previous encounters. The pair will meet on Margaret Court Arena, with Luxemburger Muller seen as a dangerous floater in the draw having reached a career high of 28 in the rankings and fresh off his first tournament victory in Sydney last week.
Men’s champion Novak Djokovic will be looking to step up his performance, after he was tested by Fernando Verdasco in the first round, when he faces Uzbek journeyman Denis Istomin on Rod Laver Arena. Spain’s Rafa Nadal should be wary of 2006 finalist Marcos Baghdatis in the last game on the main showcourt, which follows Serena Williams’ tie with Lucie Safarova. Briton Johanna Konta, who opens proceedings on Rod Laver, also will need to be wary of power-hitting Japanese teenager Naomi Osaka. – Reuters