Nick Kyrgios’ infamous on-court sledge of Stan Wawrinka has rocked the tennis world, with some of the game’s biggest names returning serve on the young Australian.
World No.1 Novak Djokovic led the criticisms shortly after reaching the quarter-finals of the ATP Masters in Montreal, saying there was no excuse for what Kyrgios said no matter how high the stakes.
“I think he was fined, I think it’s official and he deserved it, he’s going to learn a lesson in a hard way,” he said.
“I understand every player goes through certain tantrums and emotional ups and downs in a match, in a big fight, and at this level it’s not easy, I understand.
“But it’s not fair and there’s no excuse for directing your tantrums to your opponent and especially to somebody that is not even there.”
During the second-round Rogers Cup match in Montreal on Wednesday, the 20-year-old Kyrgios linked the reigning Australian and French Open champion with teenage Australian player, Thanasi Kokkinakis.
“Kokkinakis banged your girlfriend. Sorry to tell you that mate,” said Kyrgios midway through the second set.
Former women’s champion and legend of the game Chris Evert echoed the Serbian’s sentiments.
“A hurtful, offensive comment like that is not a good reflection on Kyrgios or the sport,” she wrote on Twitter.
Two-time Australian Open champion and former world No.1 Victoria Azarenka also rued Kyrgios’ choice of words, saying “you have to respect your opponent. Everyone has to … always.”
Former world No.2 and coach of Wawrinka, Magnus Norman said: “That was really, really low Nick Kyrgios.
“Hope for you that you have people around that will teach you a thing or two about life tonight. Very bad.”
But Australia’s Davis Cup captain Wally Masur believes the controversy has been blown out of proportion.
“When I actually saw the incident, what was fairly obvious is that Nick had his back turned to Stan, he was 90 feet away, and he mumbled it under his breath, I mean no way was he actually being confrontational,” he said to Fox Sports News.
“It’s just a case of the court-side microphone, which is pretty amazing what it picked up, picked up the audio.
“It wasn’t the scenario I had in my mind when I read the headlines.”