Nick Kyrgios is playing the victim once again but there’s one simple truth he refuses to accept after another petulant outburst.
Hello, kettle? It’s pot here.
Nick Kyrgios was at his hypocritical best after a wild five-set win in the first round of Wimbledon, abusing umpires and line judges then playing the victim in his post-match press conference.
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The Aussie called one line judge a “snitch”, spat towards spectators and cried foul about the “disrespect” shown towards him by spectators at the All England Club.
You can read all about his antics and complaints here and here, but one interaction with a reporter — which we have laid out below — after overcoming Paul Jubb gave the most illuminating insight into why Kyrgios thinks the world is against him.
“Do you have any sympathy for what happens with the line judges, for example. Do you have any sympathy sometimes for how they’re treated by players?” a reporter asked, prompting five seconds of silence only broken by an uncertain “umm” from Kyrgios.
“Umpires take it, line judges take it, many of these people take it,” the journalist added.
Kyrgios: “It goes deeper than that, though. If I lose a tennis match and it comes down to a call, they’re not getting abused on social media like I have to deal with. My girlfriend deals with hate messages, my family deals with hate messages, I deal with hate messages. For instance that time in Miami where (umpire) Carlos Bernardes did that and the whole match turned. Was he dealing with the repercussions? I still deal with that but they’re just out there like nothing happened. They’re back out there refereeing, umpiring, but for me, the hate messages, they carry way more weight than just that. That’s what people don’t understand. It’s not just, ‘He made a bad call’ and I’m just abusing the umpire. I’m frustrated. It’s like, if I lose this match, you have no idea how much abuse I have to go through where the umpires don’t have to go through anything. What do they go through?”
Reporter: “Do have any sympathy for them, though?”
Kyrgios: “Well yeah, if I hit a 220km/h serve and it hits them, I’m like, ‘Oh sorry, are you OK?’ But if they make a bad call that focused on one line, why would I have sympathy for that? There’s hundreds and thousands of dollars on the line, why would I have sympathy for that? Doesn’t make sense.”
Can you hear yourself, Nick? The only thing that doesn’t make sense are those final three words.
Kyrgios believes he’s entitled to abuse umpires and officials whenever he wants, but spectators aren’t allowed to criticise him at all.
Remember, this is the man who encouraged January’s Australian Open crowd to be as rowdy as possible as he and Thanasi Kokkinakis went on their inspired run to the doubles title. Then he would berate umpires for not controlling fans at Melbourne Park. Go figure.
You can’t have it both ways.
Make no mistake, the torrent of social media abuse athletes — including Kyrgios — are subjected to is disgusting. It’s even more unforgivable when it extends to partners and families.
The alleged racial taunt Kyrgios copped earlier this month at a tournament in Stuttgart is deeply disturbing and has no place in society, let alone tennis or any other sport. The Canberran is right to speak out against such treatment and deserves praise for raising awareness of the damaging impact it has on mental health.
But what Kyrgios doesn’t understand is he’s regurgitating the very same behaviour he complains about whenever he steps onto the court.
Kyrgios has made life hell for umpires and line judges for years. Whether it’s a despicable meltdown in Miami in March or blowing up at officials at the Australian Open every summer, the Aussie star is part of the very problem he’s whingeing about.
Saying “umpires don’t have to go through anything” when they’re on the end of one of his ferocious verbal sprays is akin to gaslighting. How would Kyrgios know what they go through after he’s finished with them? Does he give them a questionnaire to fill out after every slanging match?
Imagine turning up to work, doing your job to the best of your ability and getting screamed at, undermined and humiliated in front of thousands of people.
Kyrgios trying to justify that his issues are bigger than anyone else’s — giving him an excuse to behave like a brat — simply doesn’t wash. Yes, his profile means he faces obstacles your Average Joe doesn’t, but does he need to act like a jerk? Federer doesn’t. Nadal doesn’t. Ash Barty certainly didn’t.
The 27-year-old refuses to accept the most basic premise behind how the world sees him — that he wouldn’t be subjected to abuse and crowd taunts if he treated everyone around him with the respect he says he deserves.
Don’t abuse umpires, don’t insult line judges, don’t nearly hit ballkids with your racquet during a temper tantrum and people won’t have as much reason to “disrespect” you.
It’s a simple truth but sadly, one Kyrgios is incapable of swallowing.