'Bit bitter': Sam Groth fires back over Nick Kyrgios 'knob' dig

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·Sports Reporter
·4-min read
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Nick Kyrgios (pictured) celebrating a point.
Sam Groth has defended Nick Kyrgios (pictured) after his role in hyping up the crowd during his doubles matches. (Getty Images)

Former Aussie tennis player Sam Groth has defended Nick Kyrgios after his rival let rip at the enigmatic star over his antics during the doubles competition at the Australian Open.

Vanquished doubles player Michael Venus launched an extraordinary attack on Kyrgios, a day after he and Thanasi Kokkinakis knocked the New Zealander out of the tournament.

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It was an acrimonious affair between the Australian duo and Venus and his partner, Germany's Thomas Püetz.

Kyrgios' high energy and frequent beckoning for more noise from the crowd eventually lead to tension on either side of the net.

Both Kyrgios and Venus complained to the besieged chair umpire that the other was playing games with the ball toss on their respective serves, while in the meantime the rowdy home crowd cheered every error and fault committed by the visiting pair.

Speaking to New Zealand's TVNZ, a furious Venus unleashed on several aspects of the match he was displeased with, first and foremost Kyrgios.

Describing the atmosphere at Kia Arena as 'like a circus', Venus said Kyrgios' efforts to further whip the crowd into a frenzy were the behaviour of 'an absolute k**b'.

Now, Groth has jumped to the defence of Kyrgios.

The former player felt Venus was "a little bit bitter" having been on the losing side, which has fuelled the double star's comments.

Nick Kyrgios (pictured) celebrates a point during his doubles match at the 2022 Australian Open.
Nick Kyrgios (pictured) celebrates a point during his doubles match at the 2022 Australian Open. (Chris Putnam/Future Publishing via Getty Images)

“Well, he’s doing it from New Zealand, he’s not doing it here at Melbourne Park because he lost in the tournament,” Groth said.

“So, you know, throw barbs but you’re out of the tournament. Sorry Michael, I like you a lot but, you know, there’s a time and a place.

“I get it, the crowd is rowdy, Nick’s rowdy, but you were giving it back, you were part of it, you were in that battle. I’m not convinced that was the right way to go.”

Gorth went on to defend Kyrgios and crowd, which has come into question at points during the Australian Open.

While Groth admitted members of the crowd had overstepped the mark at points, he claimed players need to remember it's an entertainment sport.

“This is what we’re producing for the fans that come into the stands and we’re producing it for television and we’re getting eyeballs on the screens that wouldn’t normally be watching.

“I think that’s a huge bonus for our spot.”

Former Australian tennis play and now commentator Sam Groth (pictured) sitting on the sideline.
Former Australian tennis play and now commentator Sam Groth (pictured) has defended Nick Kyrgios during the Australian Open. (Chris Putnam/Future Publishing via Getty Images)

Double's star hits out at Nick Kyrgios and crowd

During his barbs at Kyrgios, Venus went on to say it was 'not on' for the Aussie duo to encourage the crowd in between serves.

Generally, tennis fans must remain quiet after a faulted first serve, however the packed stadium roared at every fault from Venus and Püetz like it was the Champions League final.

“It felt like a circus out there, and not really a tennis match,” Venus said.

“Between serves, (they were) geeing the crowd up and getting them to cheer at times like that. I don’t think that’s really on.

“You know if it’s on the other foot, old mate (Kyrgios) would have flipped his lid."

Venus was particularly aggrieved by an incident in the second set in which a dead ball smashed into the court by Kyrgios flew into the crowd and hit a young spectator, prompting the Aussie star to delay the game briefly to hand the fan one of his spare racquets.

"It’s amazing, he can smash a ball out that hits a kid and just cause he gives them a racquet afterwards people can say he’s such a good guy," he said.

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