The main interview room at Wimbledon was packed for late night press conferences that threatened to deliver so much – and we were not disappointed as Stefanos Tsitsipas and Nick Kyrgios traded bitter verbal blows.
After an epic Wimbledon round clash on Court No.1 ended with a 6-7 (2) 6-4 6-3 7-6 (7) victory for Kyrgios, a match laced with tense exchanges between the two players was always likely to throw up some feisty post-match comments.
Yet what was served up as the Greek player entered the media room first took the breath away, as he branded Kyrgios “evil” and “a bully” in explosive comments that drew murmurs from all present.
Tsitsipas went further as he called for tennis players to unite in a bid to halt Kyrgios’ behaviour, in comments that were always likely to draw a response from the bullish Aussie.
“I wish we could all come together and put a rule in place,” declared the 23-year-old.
“I don’t know. Something about talking. Why would you be talking while you’re playing? It makes no sense. You are out there to do your job. Tennis is the most important thing that we are doing out there.
“Every single point that I played today I feel like there was something going on the other side of the net.
“I’m not trying to be distracted by that, because I know it might be intentional. And that’s his way of manipulating the opponent and making you feel distracted, in a way.
“There is no other player that does this. There is no other player that is so upset and frustrated all the time with something. It triggers it so easy and so fast.
“I really hope all us players can come up with something and make this a cleaner version of our sport, have this kind of behavior not accepted, not allowed, not tolerated, and move on better.”
Tsitsipas, who shared a frosty handshake with his bitter rival at the end, added: “It’s constant bullying, that’s what he does. He bullies the opponents.
“He was probably a bully at school himself. I don’t like bullies. I don’t like people that put other people down.
“He has some good traits in his character, as well. But he also has a very evil side to him, which if it’s exposed, it can really do a lot of harm and bad to the people around him.
“The handshake part, ‘well deserved, well done for the great match’, for sure, I need to congratulate my opponent. It’s a thing I have been doing my entire life.
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“I have never finished the match and not given my hand to the opponent simply because of his performance. But attitude-wise, if there was a handshake for that, I would definitely be walking away from it, and that’s how it is. It’s not acceptable in any way.”
Naturally, those comments were relayed to Kyrgios he didn’t hold back with a repost that was only be expected from an Aussie who has never held back in his comments.
Unrepentant as ever, he said: “I’m not sure how I bullied him. He was the one hitting balls at me, he was the one that hit a spectator, he was the one that smacked it out of the stadium.
“I just don’t understand what I did. Like I did nothing towards him. I didn’t think I was aggressive towards him.
“I wasn’t hitting balls at his face. I don’t know. I didn’t feel like there was any anger.
“I had no anger towards Stef today on the match. I don’t know where it’s coming from, to be honest.
“If he’s affected by that today, then that’s what’s holding him back. I just think it’s soft.”
The Kyrgios roadshow rolls on at Wimbledon and whether you love or loath him, you will certainly be watching when he plays his next match on Monday.