Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 21 October 2019

Nick Kyrgios: Rafael Nadal a 'sore loser', Novak Djokovic is 'cringeworthy - I can't stand him'

Australian tennis player expresses his views on his fellow pros on a guest appearance on a podcast

Nick Kyrgios offered his thoughts on his fellow pros and even rounded on the fans for heckling him during matches. EPA
Nick Kyrgios offered his thoughts on his fellow pros and even rounded on the fans for heckling him during matches. EPA

Outspoken Australian tennis player Nick Kyrgios has not held back during a recent appearance in a podcast, describing Rafael Nadal as a "sore loser", saying he "can't stand" Novak Djokovic, and claiming Fernando Verdasco is "the most arrogant person ever".

Speaking on the 'No Challenges Remaining' podcast, 24-year-old Kyrgios also disparaged fans who heckle him at his matches, and called Nadal's uncle Toni an "idiot".

Kyrgios has had a tense relationship with Nadal, who accused him of "lacking respect for the public, the opponent and himself" after being beaten by the Australian at the Mexican Open in March.

World No 36 Kyrgios labelled the French Open champion "super salty" - slang for someone who is aggressive or ill-humoured - and only gracious after victory.

"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’," said Kyrgios.

"It’s not a good look for you, I feel. And then uncle Toni came out saying, 'He lacks education'. I’m like, 'Bra (brother), I did 12 years at school, you idiot.

"I’m very educated. I understand that you’re upset I beat your family again’."

Turning his sights on another of the game's modern greats, Kyrgios described Djokovic as "an unbelievable player" and "a champion of the sport" but said the Serb was too desperate to be admired like popular Swiss rival Roger Federer.

"I just feel like he has a sick obsession with wanting to be liked. He just wants to be like Roger," he said. "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 that he does after matches, it’s like so cringeworthy. It’s very cringeworthy."

Kyrgios devoted special attention to Spanish veteran Fernando Verdasco, calling him "the most arrogant person ever".

He spoke warmly of three-time grand slam champion Andy Murray but also said the Briton's head-to-head record against Djokovic - 11-25 in matches and 2-5 in major finals - was "embarrassing".

He gave no apologies for hitting back at spectators who give him a hard time during matches.

"These guys show me no respect. None," he said. "So why would I show you respect? For instance, when I’m taking matches, I don’t care that you paid for tickets. You guys treat me like crap anyway."

The podcast's release came on the same day Kyrgios defaulted from his second round Italian Open clash against Norway's Casper Ruud after he threw a chair on to the court.

Kyrgios, who was broken in the third set, threw his racket to the floor before kicking a water bottle and flinging a chair towards the centre of the court.

Ruud was leading 6-3, 6-7, 2-1 when Kyrgios was disqualified.

Updated: May 16, 2019 06:45 PM

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