Nick Kyrgios has denied his mid-match spray was directed at his brother’s girlfriend after a bizarre moment at the Australian Open on Monday night.
Kyrgios overcame a slow start to beat Portugal's Frederico Ferreira Silva 6-4 6-4 6-4 in 119 minutes in their round-one encounter.
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Despite the win, the Aussie star was a picture of frustration throughout the match and yelled at his box in a strange rant during the first set.
“Tell your girlfriend to get out of my box,” he yelled.
It was unclear who Kyrgios’ spray was directed at, however the only people sitting in his box appeared to be his father Giorgos, sister Halimah, brother Christos and Christos’ girlfriend Alicia Gowans.
When asked about the outburst in his post-match press conference, Kyrgios said it was just the heat of the moment getting to him.
“Mate, I’m a nutcase when I’m on court,” Kyrgios said.
“It was just heat of the battle type stuff. It was just being out there, all those emotions again, you outlet into people you know have your back and you know that’s not going to change.
“A lot of people can relate to outbursting, you know, you just need to verbalise it and lash out on someone sometimes and then I calm down and start playing some decent tennis.”
When asked if his spray was directed at Gowans, Kyrgios replied: “Nah, it wasn’t her. It wasn’t her. Nah.”
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The World No.47 blew a series of break-point opportunities in the first set, but his overall class and powerful serving proved too much to handle for Ferreira Silva.
The result sets up a tricky second-round clash with World No.34 Frenchman Ugo Humbert.
Kyrgios took almost a year out from the game during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Although he has displayed his usual on-court antics and verbal sprays during his return, Kyrgios feels like he is now in a better position to ride the ups and downs of tennis.
“I feel old. I feel like this sport has stressed me out. I feel like an old soul,” Kyrgios said.
“At the end of the day I know it's just a tennis match. I mean obviously I'm going to get angry as I'm playing. I'm a competitor, I want to win.
“But I don't beat myself up over losses. I'm extremely lucky to even be in my position. I'm healthy, I've got great friends, great family. I've got an amazing girlfriend back home.
“I definitely feel I've calmed down a lot in my career now. I just take every match as it comes.
“Look at me, I'm a wise man now.”
Kyrgios converted just five of his 17 break-point opportunities for the match, and he rated his performance as “average”.
He cut a frustrated figure early in the match, dropping his opening service game before bellowing at his entourage: “Are you even awake? You haven’t said anything.”
The frustrations continued to build as Kyrgios blew seven break-point chances in the third game.
He finally secured the break back on his eighth chance, and from there he dominated the rest of the match.
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