Kyrgios’ demand after spray at ‘disrespecting’ doubters

Nick Kyrgios withdraws from United Cup

Nick Kyrgios believes his doubters owe him an apology for criticising his decision to withdraw from the United Cup on the day before the pre-Australian Open team tournament began.

Kyrgios was set to line up for Team Australia at Sydney’s Ken Rosewall Arena from Thursday but instead faces a race against the clock to recover from an ankle injury in time for next month’s Australian Open in Melbourne.

The world No.22’s decision to pull out forced a last-minute reshuffle, with Alex de Minaur promoted to top seed in Australia’s men’s singles matches and Jordan Kubler brought in.

Kyrgios’ scratching prompted Ticketmaster to offer fans free tickets to two of the other ties being played later in the tournament.

A case of COVID forced Kyrgios out of the corresponding tournament last summer, the ATP Cup, and he also sat out the Davis Cup in 2022 for a third consecutive year.

His latest withdrawal prompted reaction from his contemporaries, with Stefanos Tsitsipas saying he hoped Kyrgios “enjoys his holidays” and Cameron Norrie admitting was he “disappointed” not to be facing Kyrgios on Thursday.

Kyrgios and Tsitsipas have a fractious relationship, with clashes including one at Wimbledon earlier this year in which the Greek star said Kyrgios had an “evil side”.

On Twitter on Thursday, Kyrgios claimed the media had painted him as a “pure villain” and said he remained a drawcard for the sport, pointing to the forthcoming documentary Point Break in which features prominently.

“Haha so after all this, all the media, journalism saying how bad I am for the sport, disrespecting the game & just a pure villain, I am going to be the number 1 episode on Netflix… to grow our fan base, basically trying to put tennis on the map again,” Kyrgios wrote.

“And essentially putting more money in everyone’s pockets that’s involved with tennis, you all look really ridiculous now.

“Your apology should be as loud as your disrespect was.”

Australia faces Great Britain on Thursday night for its first United Cup tie. The opening match between de Minaur and Cameron Norrie begins at 7pm local time.

Afterwards, women’s second seed Zoe Hives will face Great Britain’s Katie Swan.


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