Kokkinakis opens up about Kyrgios sledge

Thanasi Kokkinakis says Nick Kyrgios was out of order dragging him into his on-court verbal stoush with Stan Wawrinka at last week’s Montreal Masters.

Speaking for the first time since Kyrgios’s unsavoury sledging of Wawrinka, Kokkinakis on Monday revealed his good mate had apologised for the incident.

“I let him know. I made it pretty clear that he can’t be doing that. If he’s got a problem, he’s got to say it in private,” Kokkinakis said after successfully qualifying for the Cincinnati Masters.

“The way he went about it definitely wasn’t the right thing.”

Kokkinakis admitted he’d endured a couple of sleepless nights since Kyrgios sparked global outrage for telling Wawrinka: “Kokkinakis banged your girlfriend”.

While Kokkinakis said he’d cleared the air with Wawrinka and Donna Vekic, the rising WTA star Kyrgios was referring to, the fallout continued on Sunday when Kokkinakis almost came to blows during a heated match with American Ryan Harrison.

Kokkinakis was furious with Harrison for sledging him about the whole sorry affair and on Monday agreed with calls for Harrison to be fined by the ATP, just as Kyrgios was.

“It’s been interesting. It’s been a circus,” a mentally drained Kokkinakis said after rallying back from 3-0 down in the third set to beat Marsel Ilhan in the final round of qualifying at the Cincinnati Masters.

“I haven’t gotten much sleep on the nights of the two incidents.

“Yeah, I didn’t get much sleep last night either.

“But, luckily enough, I recovered and I’m playing a tournament at the moment, so I’m trying to focus on that and I’m happy I found a way to get the win.”

Kokkinakis’s 15th win from 16 qualifying matches in 2015 has left the 19-year-old and Kyrgios – former Australian Open and Wimbledon junior doubles winners together – within one win each of a potentially spicy second-round clash in Cincinnati.

First, though, Kokkinakis must account for Italian Fabio Fognini and Kyrgios must avenge his fourth-round Wimbledon loss to Frenchman Richard Gasquet.

But Kokkinakis isn’t short of motivation after being left “pretty shattered” by his only qualifying loss of the year in Montreal.

The defeat preceded Kyrgios’ explosive sledge.

“I was just on my laptop watching the (Kyrgios-Wawrinka) match, and then my phone just went crazy. I was like, `Oh, jeez’,” he said.

“I was watching it but I didn’t actually know it happened,” said Kokkinakis.

“I found out via one of the Fox Sports guys that sent me a tweet.

“It was pretty crazy what happened. Obviously he shouldn’t have said what he said under the circumstances.

“But, yeah, it is what it is and, yeah, (we’ve) got to move past it now.”

Kokkinakis said he’d been heartened by support in the locker room, where the youngster has quickly earned a reputation as a polite, respectful and good-natured personality on tour.

“Most of the guys have been pretty good, pretty much everyone,” he said.

“They’ve been good to me and I don’t think I’m in the wrong with anything.

“I’m getting advice from everyone: `Don’t worry about it, do your thing’.

“But it’s fine. I want to say some stuff, but I’ve got to keep it pretty low.”

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