Nick Kyrgios has hit back at Stefanos Tsitsipas, calling the Greek superstar "soft" after he was accused of "bullying" opponents and having a "very evil side".
Tsitsipas, the no.4 seed in the Wimbledon men's singles draw, was bundled out in an epic four-setter between the two men, but the match was not without controversy, as is often the case when Kyrgios is involved.
The drama kicked off at the end of the second set, when a frustrated Tsitsipas whacked a ball into the stands after the Aussie drew level.
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The ball appeared to ricochet off a wall, but what wasn't entirely clear was whether it landed on anyone. The Greek star drew a warning from chair umpire Damien Dumusois for the incident, which resulted in Kyrgios seeing red.Stefanos Tsitsipas unleashed on Kyrgios in his post-match press conference after being knocked out at Wimbledon (Getty)
The Aussie wanted to see Tsitsipas defaulted, similarly to Novak Djokovic at the US Open in 2020, and threatened to stop playing until every one of the tournament's supervisors made their way onto the court to discuss the matter.
Tsitsipas was visibly irked after the incident, drilling three shots purposely at the body of the Aussie out of frustration. He was handed two of the three code violations dished out by Dumusois throughout the match for ball abuse, eventually earning a point penalty.
Tsitsipas ensured that the fireworks between the two would continue after the match, when he unleashed on Kyrgios in an unprecedented tirade in his press conference.
"It's constant bullying. He bullies his opponents. He was probably a bully in school too ... I don't like bullies. He has a very evil side to him," he said of the Aussie's behaviour.
Kyrgios seals Wimbledon epic against Tsitsipas
"In a way it felt like a circus. You get tired of it. The constant talking. The constant complaining. We're there to play tennis, not to have dialogues."
Tsitsipas suggested that he was far from the only player on the tour who was growing tired of Kyrgios' antics, a claim the Aussie refuted immediately afterwards in his own presser.
"I'm not sure how I was able to bully someone in the third round of Wimbledon. I was just playing tennis," he said.
"He was the one that was hitting balls at me. He was the one who hit a spectator. Apart from going back and forth with the umpire, I did nothing disrespectful towards him.
"I'm good in the locker room. I've got many friends, just to let you know. I'm actually one of the most liked. I'm set. He's not liked let's just put that there."Kyrgios was not impressed by the handshake Tsitsipas offered him after the pair's epic encounter (Getty)
Kyrgios also took aim at the "soft" Greek superstar for his tense handshake at the end of the match.
"When I'm back home (and) you see my everyday and who I'm competing with on the basketball court, these guys are dogs," he said.
"The people I'm playing at Wimbledon, they're not. He's that soft, to come in here say I bullied him that's just soft. We're not cut from the same cloth.
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"I can officially say I have never given a handshake like that in my life. Every time I've lost, when I defaulted against (Casper) Ruud, I looked people in the eye and I say, 'Well done today, you were the better man', and he wasn't man enough to do that today."
Kyrgios is set to face American youngster Brandon Nakashima in the next round, with a potential all-Australian clash against countryman Alex de Minaur on deck if he wins that.
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