Becker Vs Kyrgios: A Tennis Quarrel Defined By Rats And Doughnuts

WASHINGTON, July 1, 2020 (by Michael Dickens)

“How much longer until the season resumes? Not sure if it can come fast enough,” tweeted The New York Times tennis corespondent Christopher Clarey on Tuesday, soon after a kerfuffle between Boris Becker and Nick Kyrgios commenced on Twitter. In a quarrel defined by the use of the terms rats and doughnuts – in a derogatory manner – the verbal war between the three-time Wimbledon champion and the mercurial Aussie broke out after Becker took offense to Kyrgios’ criticism of Alexander Zverev.

Becker called Kyrgios a “rat” while Kyrgios said Becker was a “doughnut.”

Indeed, how much longer until the tennis season resumes?

On Monday, Kyrgios labeled Zverev as “selfish” after a controversial video of the young German star posted on Instagram by German fashion designer Philipp Plein (and later deleted) emerged at a private party in Monte Carlo instead of self-isolating following a negative test for COVID-19 after playing in the Adria Tour in Belgrade, Serbia, and Zadar, Croatia, in which Grigor Dimitrov, Novak Djokovic and Viktor Troicki had become infected with the virus.

In taking to social media, Kyrgios posted an expletive-filled video rant in which he said Zverev should “at least have the audacity to stay inside for 14 days.”

Not impressed, Becker on Tuesday tweeted: “Don’t like no #rats ! Anybody telling off fellow sportswoman/woman is no friend of mine! Look yourself in the mirror and think. You’re better than us…@NickKyrgios.”

To which Kyrgios, who is becoming a voice of reason during the pandemic, said: “For goodness sake Boris, I’m not competing or trying to throw anyone under the bus. It’s a global pandemic and if someone is as idiotic as Alex to do what he has done, I’ll call him out for it. Simple.”

Becker replied: “We all live in the pandemic called Covid-19! It’s terrible and it killed to many lives…we should protect our families/loved ones and follow the guidelines but still don’t like #rats.”

Ball in Kyrgios’ court, he responded: “Rats? For holding someone accountable? Strange way to think of it champion, I’m just looking out for people. WHEN my family and families all over the world have respectfully done the right thing. And you have a goose waving his arms around, imma say something.”

Then, for good measure, Kyrgios added: “@TheBorisBecker is a bigger doughnut than I thought. Can hit a volley, obviously not the sharpest tool in the shed though.”

However, Becker appeared to get the last word in, taking it to a bit more of a personal level when he tweeted: “I would really like to see @NickKyrgios turn his potential and win a Grand Slam! He would be an incredible role model for the youth of the world addressing the issues of equality/race/heritage.

“Man up buddy and deliver!”

Stay tuned.

Reem Abulleil: Asking tough questions after the Zverev debacle

When players like Alexander Zverev act like their actions have no consequences, what can tennis do? asks The National Sport’s Reem Abulleil.

Future of Czech women’s tennis on display 

The future of Czech women’s tennis was on display Tuesday afternoon inside Agrofert Arena in Prostejov, Czech Republic, as a pair of teenagers, Linda Fruhvirtova, 15, and Nikola Bartunkova, 14, battled on the red clay in the second day of the Tipsport Elite Trophy team exhibition. The WTA 822nd-ranked Fruhvirtova was cheered on by her teammates Petra Kvitova and Barbora Strycova while Bartunkova, whose junior ranking is No. 203, received encouraging words from Karolina Pliskova and Karolina Muchova.

In a highly entertaining – and at times valiant – back-and-forth match that stretched over one hour and 51 minutes, Fruhvirtova fought off two match points and overcame seven missed set-point opportunities in the second set before finally pulling out a tie-break to force a match decider. Looking back, she jumped out to a 5-1 lead in the middle set before letting Bartunkova back into the match. Then, Fruhvirtova blazed ahead in the match tie-break and won it and the match, 1-6, 7-6 (6), 10-4. It was her second win over Bartunkova in the Tipsport Elite Trophy competition this summer. Previously, Fruhvirtova won 6-2, 6-1 in 47 minutes in Prague. So, Tuesday’s match was an improvement for both players.

Throughout, Fruhvirtova, who was playing in her 12th exhibition match in recent weeks, was the more aggressive and polished hitter. A Top 20 as a junior, she created 17 break-point opportunities thank to her attacking style but wasn’t always able to cash in. Fruhvirtova hit 17 winners but committed 40 unforced errors. Meanwhile, Bartunkova, who is the youngest competitor on either team, saved 14 break points but was also undone by 10 double faults. She hit 24 winners and 41 unforced errors. Bartunkova was part of the winning ITF World Junior Finals Czech team last year. She’s 5-6 in exhibition singles during the lockdown.

Querrey and Sandgren reach Altec/Styslinger final

The Altec/Styslinger Exhibition, part of an on-going U.S. series of pop-up tennis exhibitions, has brought some top-notch performances to Miami, Fla., this week. Wednesday’s hard-court final, being contested on the grounds of a private residence, will be a match-up of Americans Sam Querrey and Tennys Sandgren.

The 45th-ranked Querrey upset 39th-ranked Reilly Opelka of the U.S., 4-2, 2-4, 4-3 (2) in one semifinal, while No. 55 Sandgren held his ground and beat No. 220 Brandon Nakashima of the U.S., 3-4 (3), 4-1, 4-3 (3), in the other semifinal. Opelka and Nakashima will play for third place on Wednesday.

Wimbledon: A £100 million economic hit

According to The Times of London, with this year’s Wimbledon fortnight cancelled due to the global coronavirus pandemic, the “well-heeled” Wimbledon area is expected to suffer a £100 million economic hit. Not only are restaurants, bars and local businesses suffering, but also residents of Wimbledon village, who usually rent out their homes. Adrian Mills, the chairman of the Wimbledon Village Business Association, told The Times that losing the tournament this year could be a “bloodbath.”

Wimbledon moments we are missing

What they’re writing

Simon Briggs, tennis corespondent for The Telegraph of London, from “Taylor Townsend, on being body-shamed by US tennis bosses and mistaken for Serena Williams”:

Taylor Townsend’s matter-of-fact delivery makes her contribution to the Black Lives Matter movement all the more powerful.

Earlier this month Townsend offered her thoughts on the subject of systemic racism. She spoke of how, on tour, she is routinely subjected to additional security measures because of her skin colour, revealing that she is often mistaken for fellow African-American Coco Gauff, or for one of the Williams sisters, because people think “all of us look the same, all of us are built the same.”

“You walk through and nobody stops you,” she told the Tennis United project, jointly run by the men’s and women’s tours. “And I’m walking through and somebody has to check my bag, check my credential, check my coach’s bag, check my coach’s credential. It’s extra security, extra precautions that need to be taken to make sure that I belong.”

“This is our reality. It happens all the time – week in, week out, every tournament that I play in the States, overseas, it doesn’t matter. It’s not going to change. Hopefully, this [the Black Lives Matter protests] just creates a safe space and an awareness for people to want to talk about it.”

What they’re podcasting

What they’re sharing on social media

Katie Boulter / Missing wearing my Wimbledon whites.

Alexandra Dulgheru / My New York masterpiece …

Chris Evert / Quarantine reading …