Kyrgios: ‘As Open A Book As There Is On Tour …’

Nick Kyrgios (photo: Michael Dickens)

WASHINGTON, July 8, 2020 (by Michael Dickens)

While much of Europe and North American slept last night, Nick Kyrgios was wide awake Down Under where it was already Wednesday afternoon. The mercurial Aussie was busy on social media, where he’s been a vocal critic of his fellow professionals, the ATP Tour and the US Open – even Boris Becker – during the global coronavirus pandemic that’s grounded tennis since March.

This time, Kyrgios blasted rivals Dominic Thiem, Novak Djokovic and Alexander Zverev. The common denominator, according to Kyrgios, was each did not have the “intellectual level” to comprehend the problems he has with their recent reckless COVID-19 behavior.

Recently, Kyrgios became very vocal after the fallout from Djokovic’s ill-fated Adria Tour in the Balkans, pointing criticisms at the World No. 1 for the perceived lack of health and safety measures exhibited in Serbia and Croatia. Kyrgios denounced Djokovic for what he called a “boneheaded” decision to go ahead with the Adria Tour before it was ultimately shutdown after Djokovic tested positive for COVID-19.

However, Kyrgios saved his biggest salvos for Zverev after a video surfaced on Instagram showing the German dancing at a crowded, private Monte Carlo party just days after promising to self-isolate following a negative COVID test in Zadar, Croatia. (The Adria Tour shuttered after a series of positive COVID-19 tests. First, Grigor Dimitrov revealed he had tested positive for the coronavirus. Then, in the aftermath of the Zadar final being called off after Dimitrov’s reveal, Djokovic and his wife, Viktor Troicki, Borna Coric and Goran Ivanisevic plus three others all tested positive for COVID-19.)

Then, Kyrgios added Thiem to his shoutout list after the Austrian questioned on Tuesday the Aussie’s need to “interfere” when he spoke out about Zverev’s reckless behavior. Thiem defended Zverev, saying it was “bad luck” he was videotaped partying.

“He was also tested negatively, only his mistake was that he first wrote the statement and then had the bad luck of being filmed at the party,” Thiem said on Tuesday in Kitzbuhel, Austria, where he’s hosting Thiem’s 7, an exhibition tournament. “But I don’t like the way people criticize him. He is treated as if he were an elementary school child. But he’s a 23-year-old man. Sure, he made a mistake – but I don’t understand why everyone is getting involved.”

On Wednesday, Kyrgios, whom tennis journalist Ben Rothenberg has called “as open a book as there is on tour, for better or worse,” took to Twitter with a couple of pointed missives:

• “What are you talking about @ThiemDomi? Mistakes like smashing rackets? Swearing? Tanking a few matches here or there? Which everyone does? None of you have the intellectual level to even understand where I’m coming from. I’m trying to hold them accountable.”

• “This just shows what a joke @ThiemDomi, @AlexZverev and @DjokerNole think this is. Two of them partying like potato’s (sic) during a global pandemic. People losing lives, loved ones and friends, and then Thiem standing up for the ‘mistake.’ These guys are the ‘top’ of our sport. SMH.”

Last week, Kyrgios debated Becker on Twitter, in which he labeled the three-time Wimbledon champion a “doughnut” after the German Hall of Famer called him a “rat” for blasting Zverev’s behavior.

Now, in the aftermath of it all, Zverev posted on Instagram Wednesday:

Hi everyone,

Wanted to update you on a few things: First, on Friday I took my 3rd get for COVID-19 and I’m happy to say it also came back negative.

Second, I was planning this month to play in Berlin but I have made the decision to stay put and train with my team and not play any organized events at the moment. It’s never nice to miss the chance to play at home, but I will be back soon.

Third, some good news, I am going through a trial period with David Ferrer on my team. Could not be more excited to get to work. Can’t wait for the tour to be back.

Leave it to Kyrgios to have the last word. On Wednesday afternoon, he pulled out of next week’s bett1ACES exhibition tournament in Berlin due to the worsening spread of COVID-19 throughout Australia.