CINCINNATI, Ohio, Aug 18 AAP/DPA – Roger Federer is the latest to condemn Nick Kyrgios for his infamous sledge, the former world No.1 saying the Australian teenager “definitely crossed the line by a long shot”.
Federer and fellow great Rafael Nadal both fear Kyrgios’s on-court conduct is affecting the image of tennis.
“We all agree that he definitely crossed the line by a long shot,” Federer told the Cincinnati Enquirer.
“We’re not used to that kind of talk in tennis. I know in other sports it’s quite common, maybe normal. Not in our sport, really.
“It’s normal that the tour comes down hard on him and explains to him that it’s not the way forward.”
Kyrgios was fined $US10,000 ($A13,560) after courtside microphones caught him telling Federer’s Davis Cup teammate Stan Wawrinka during last week’s Montreal Masters that “(Thanasi) Kokkinakis banged your girlfriend”.
Federer, a Davis Cup teammate of Wawrinka’s, said the controversy was “not great for the sport, one that I think many players have tried to build up and make it a good image, build up a good image.”
The 17-time grand slam champion added: “We want kids to be wanting to get into this sport because it’s a nice sport.”
Almost a week on and Kyrgios’s peers continue to lash him.
Nadal has little time for the entire controversy and also took aim at young players like Kyrgios for disrespecting fans by wearing headphones onto court.
“Being young is not an excuse at all. I started at age 16, other top players arrived at a young age,” Nadal said at the Cincinnati Masters.
“I don’t want to say much about this, but when we (say) things on the court, we are in front of the cameras and the audience – and most important we are in front of kids.
“This sport has always been gentlemanly. It’s about respect shaking hands after the match and being respectful with umpires and the opponent and with the crowd.
“If we want to keep the game like this, we need to be strong when all this (controversial) stuff happens.”
Nadal said it was puzzling to see competitors oblivious to any roar of the crowd as they entered stadiums with headphones on.
“I don’t know the reason, I don’t understand it,” said the Spaniard, a tennis traditionalist.
“I listen to music before the matches, but I take the headphones out a minute before going onto court.
“When you go on court and the crowd is cheering for you, it’s good that you are hearing that. If you have on headphones, you only hear your music.”
Nadal, who began his career at a tender age during his “pirate pants” period, said he felt more respect for the crowd when he feels with them and not with himself.
“It’s all about respect more than anything else,” he said.