Nick Kyrgios Says ‘Cringeworthy’ Djokovic Will Never Be As Great As Federer, Blasts Nadal - UBITENNIS
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Nick Kyrgios Says ‘Cringeworthy’ Djokovic Will Never Be As Great As Federer, Blasts Nadal

The Australian has made a series of astonishing remarks about some of the biggest players in men’s tennis.

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Nick Kyrgios (image via Chryslène Caillaud, copyright @Sport Vision)

World No.36 Nick Kyrgios is once again embroiled in controversy following an extraordinary interview with the No Challenges remaining podcast.

 

Kyrgios, who is a two-time grand slam quarter-finalist, criticised a series of his fellow players on the tour during a 50-minute conversation with Ben Rothenberg from The New York Times. The most prominent of those he hit out at was world No.1 Novak Djokovic. Who he has a 2-0 head-to-head record against on the tour.

The Australian has said that he ‘can’t stand’ Djokovic and his post-match celebration is ‘cringeworthy.’ Although he admits that the Serbian could one day overtake Roger Federer in terms of the most grand slam titles won, Kyrgios said Djokovic would never be as ‘great’ as him.

‘I just feel like he’s got a sick obsession with wanting to be liked,’ Kyrgios commented about Djokovic.
‘He just wants to be Federer. I feel he wants to be liked so much that I just can’t stand him. This celebration thing is so cringeworthy.
‘He’s unbelievable, a champion of the sport, one of the greatest we will ever see. I think he will get the Grand Slam count and overtake Federer.
‘[But] we’re talking about a guy who pulled out of the Australian Open one year because it was too hot. No matter how many Grand Slams he wins, he will never be the greatest to me.
‘I’ve played him twice and I’m sorry but if you cannot beat me, you cannot be the greatest of all time. Look at how much I train and put in… it’s zero compared to him.”

Speaking about other members of the Big Four, Kyrgios praised their achievements on the court. The group consists of Djokovic, Federer, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray. Between them, they have won 55 grand slam titles. Outside of the group, the last person to top the ATP rankings was Andy Roddick back in 2004.

“For me Federer will always be the greatest of all time. What Rafa has done has been pretty scary too.‘ Kyrgios stated.
“But Novak just riles me the wrong way. He always says what he thinks he needs to say rather than his actual opinion.
‘The celebration just kills me. Every time it does… it kills me. If I play him and beat him again, I’m doing the celebration in front of him [laughing]… that would be hilarious!’

Praise for Murray

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Speaking most specifically about Murray, Kyrgios believes the Brit has more talent than the current world No.1. Murray hasn’t played since January due to an hip injury and it remains to be seen if and when he will return to the tour. He has undergone hip resurfacing surgery. Murray has been gradually returning to training in recent weeks.

‘I’m sad [about Murray’s injury problems]. Genuinely sad. I think his record against Djokovic is embarrassing.” He said.
‘I feel he’s so much better than Novak, I’ve played them both. I think Andy returns better, his serve is better. He should have won so many more Grand Slams.
‘Against Murray you can’t slice, he knows that’s garbage. But I feel Djokovic doesn’t really know what to do [to that]. ‘If I was Murray’s coach he would have won more Grand Slams for sure!’

It is not the first time the 24-year-old have said comments similar to these. In January he wrote a special tribute to his fellow player in an article for The Guardian. Praising Murray for the support he has received. In the piece he said he once told Murray ‘Dude, you’re so much better than Djokovic, you should have a way better career.’

‘Salty’ Nadal

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Speaking about 11-time French Open champion Nadal, the Australian has described him as a bad loser. Earlier this year, Nadal said Kyrgios ‘lacks respect’ following his loss to him at the Mexican Open. Describing him as a ‘dangerous player who lacks consistency.’ Shortly after those comments, Nadal said his words have been misinterpreted.’

“He’s my polar opposite, like literally my polar opposite. And he’s super salty.” Kyrgios said of the world No.2.
“Every time I’ve beaten him … 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’.
“And I’m like, ‘What are you talking about? I literally played this way when I beat you the other previous times and nothing changed … When you beat me in Rome here a couple of years ago, nothing changed; I was the same person’.
“It’s not a good look for you, I feel. And then Uncle Toni (Nadal) came out saying, ‘He lacks education’. I’m like, ‘Bra, I did 12 years at school, you idiot. I’m very educated. I understand that you’re upset I beat your family again’.”

Kyrgios also expressed frustration about how he is treated on the tour by fans. The former top 20 player has been embroiled in controversy throughout his career with various fines and allegations of tanking. At one point he was even briefly suspended from the ATP Tour for unsportsmanlike conduct during the 2016 Shanghai Masters.

“When I say something after I play him, it’s not going to get noticed as much. But when he says something, it’s like that’s the only thing that matters. They’re like, ‘Oh yeah, he must be right. This guy must lack education, he must lack respect’.” He said.
“And you’re asking me why I do things and why I go back at fans in the crowd. And that’s why. These guys show me no respect. None. 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. Rafa gets me vexed, as well.”

The most arrogant person ever

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Another player to feel the wrath of Kyrgios’ verbal attack was Spain’s Fernando Verdasco. A former top 10 player who has won seven ATP titles during his career. The two engaged in a twitter spat last year during the Miami Open. Kyrgios described him as the ‘saltiest dude’ during that exchange. The comment was then deleted on Twitter, which Verdasco criticised by saying ‘’when you have the courage to put a tweet insulting another player you need to have the same to don’t delete it.’

“Verdasco drives me nuts, man. That guy … I don’t even want to talk about it,” Kyrgios said.
“It gets me so vexed, I’m like angry now that I just hear that name. He’s the most arrogant person ever.
“He doesn’t say hello, he thinks he’s so good, he thinks he’s God’s gift. Dude, your backhand’s pretty average and let’s be honest, you hit a ball over a net.
“Guy’s like that, they drive me insane. There’s no humility there, there’s no perspective. It’s just like, ‘I’m here, I’m so cool, I’m unbelievable because I hit a ball over the net. Do this for me, do this for me, I won’t say hello to you, I’m too important’.
“Guys like that. See how angry I’m getting? It kills me. He just rubs me the wrong way.”

On the tour, Kyrgios has won both of his meetings against the Spaniard. Although, they havn’t played each other since the 2016 Atlanta Open.

Kyrgios is currently playing at the Italian Open this week. He will take on Norway’s Casper Ruud in the second round. Should he reach the quarter-finals, he may play top seed Djokovic.

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Alexander Zverev edged past Hugo Dellien to reach the semifinal in Geneva

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World number 5 and 2018 Nitto ATP Finals champion Alexander Zverev battled past Bolivian player Hugo Dellien 7-5 3-6 6-3 to reach the semifinal at the Banque Eric Sturdza Geneva Open. Zverev is still seeking his first title of the year.

 

Dellien earned the first break in the second game to take a 3-0 lead. Zverev converted his fourth break-back chance in the fifth game and held his serve to draw level to 3-3. Zverev saved a set point at 3-5 at 3-5, while Dellien was serving at 40-30.

Dellien needed one break in the fourth game to win the second set 6-3. Zverev held serve in the third game at the seventh deuce after seven deuces to take a 2-1 lead. The German player got the decisive break in the fourth game and held his serve at love to build up a 4-1 lead. Zverev never looked back to win the third set 6-3.

“I played very aggressive in the important moments. I was very aggressive also in break points down, This is finally something I was looking for in the last few weeks. I think today I showed it”, said Zverev.

Radu Albot came back from 2-4 down to beat Damir Dzumhur 6-3 7-5. Albot went up a double break in the third and fifth games to open up a 4-1 lead. Dzumhur pulled one break back in the sixth game for 2-4, but Albot broke for the third time on her third break point chance to win the first set 6-3.

Dzumhur went up an early break in the first game of the second set. Albot broke back in the eight game to draw level to 4-4 and sealed the win with his second break in the 10th game.

Albot will take on Nicolas Jarry, who dropped just four of his first service points to defeat Taro Daniel 6-1 7-5.

 

 

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Nikoloz Basilashvili sets up Lyon semifinal against Felix Auger Aliassime

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Four-time ATP Tour finalist Nikoloz Basilashvili secured his spot in the semifinal where he will face Felix Auger Aliassime in Lyon

 

Basilashvili came back from an early break down to beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-4 6-4 in the quarter final of the Parc Auvergne Rhone Alpes Lyon.

Tsonga got an early break in the second game to take a 2-0 lead, but Basilashvili recovered from the early start by breaking serve twice in the third and seventh games to take a 4-3 lead. The Georgian player held his final two service games at 30 to close out the opening set 6-4.

Basilashvili needed only a break in the third game of the second set to clinch the second set 6-4 to reach his first semifinal since winning the China Open in 2018.

Basilashvili set up a semifinal clash against this year’s Rio de Janeiro finalist and Miami Open champion Felix Auger Aliassime, who edged Steve Johnson 6-4 2-6 6-4. Auger Aliassime got a break of serve in the third game to clinch the opening set 6-4. Johnson bounced back by breaking twice in the second and eighth game to claim the second set 6-2. Auger Aliassime went up a double break in the third and fifth games to build up a 5-2 lead, but Johnson pulled one break back in the eighth game, when the 18-year-old player was serving for the match. Auger Aliassime served out for the match 6-4 in the 10th game.

Benoit Paire battled past Denis Shapovalov 6-3 4-6 7-6 (7-4) in 1 hour and 55 minutes. Paire broke serve twice in the fifth and ninth games to seal the opening set 6-3. Shapovalov claimed his only break in the fifth game to win the second set 6-4. Paire saved a total of three break points in the first and third games. Both players held on their service games en route to the tie-break. Paire reeled off the final three points from 4-4 to claim the tie-break 7-4.

Taylor Fritz fought back from one set down to beat Roberto Bautista Agut 6-7 (6-8) 6-3 6-4 after two hours and five minutes. Bautista Agut fended off one set point at 5-6 to take the tie-break of the opening set. Fritz fought back to open up a 3-0 lead with a break in the second game to claim the second set 6-4. The US player earned the decisive break in he ninth game to secure his spot in his first semifinal since the 2018 Chengdu Open.

 

 

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Tomas Berdych to Miss French Open For The First Time Since 2003

It will be the third grand slam the former top 10 player has missed within the past 12 months.

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Tomas Berdych (photo by chryslène caillaud)

Former Wimbledon runner-up Tomas Berdych will not play any clay court tournaments in 2019 after withdrawing from the upcoming French Open.

 

The 33-year-old has been absent from the tour since his first round loss to Feliciano Lopez in Indian Wells. Berdych has been hampered by issues within his back in recent weeks. He has been hoping to be fit in time for Roland Garros, but made a decision to withdraw from the event on Wednesday.

“I am not 100% ready to play the way I want and need to be competitive on the courts I love so much,” Berdych wrote on social media.
“I came to Paris and I had to take a tough decision and want another few days to fully recover and be ready for the grass season.”
“I love this tournament so much but I have to make sure not to further injure myself,” he added.

The Czech had played at the tournament every year since making his debut back in 2004. However, the French Open is his worst performing grand slam in terms of wins. So far in his career, Berdych has won 25 out of 40 matches played at the French Open. His stand out performance occurred in 2010 when he reached the semi-finals before losing to Sweden’s Robin Soderling.

It is not the first time back issues have forced Berdych out of action. In 2017 he was advised by doctors to end his season early due to persistent ‘back pain.’ He was also forced to skip both Wimbledon and the US Open due to the same problem.

Berdych, who last won a title at the 2016 Shenzhen Open, has played six tournaments so far this year. His best result occurred in January with a run to the final of the Qatar Open. He also reached the fourth round of the Australian Open and was a semi-finalist in Montpellier.

As a result of his absence, Berdych is currently ranked 100th in the world rankings. He will be replaced in the French Open draw by a lucky loser.

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