Nick Kyrgios has responded to accusations he 'disrespected' Ash Barty in the aftermath of their Australian Open triumphs.
Speaking on ABC sports program Offsiders on Sunday, sports journalists Catherine Whittaker and Kelly Underwood took exception to Kyrgios' comments in which he seemingly suggested that his doubles final was the bigger drawcard than Barty's singles final.
“I would say that we’ve created probably the best atmosphere this tournament has ever seen,” Kyrgios said after winning the doubles title alongside Thanasi Kokkinakis.
“Ash (Barty’s) father came to us and said the crowd was the best he’s ever seen. Obviously Ash is a hell of a player, but I think the ratings speak for themselves.
“People watch my matches, everywhere I play around the world the stadiums are full for that reason.
“But there’s a reason why the ratings are the way they are and people are glued to the TV when we play. It speaks for itself really.”
Whitaker said she found Kyrgios' comments' "pretty extraordinary", while Underwood said they were "extremely disrespectful".
“My jaw dropped when I read those quotes and I thought it might have been one of those where the quote is written down and it looks a bit worse than when you see the clip, sometimes that can be the case with press conferences," British commentator Whittaker said.
“But it’s not the case in this instance. I mean, on a night that was about Ash Barty, without question, to say that, it is pretty extraordinary.”
Imagine saying this on a night that was about Ash Barty?
We get a humble, gracious champion holding up the trophy - then we get this. Who does he think he is? Mohammed Ali?
No matter how many matches he wins - He will never be half the role model Ash is. pic.twitter.com/reXgvRaXTq
— The Sage (@SarkySage) January 29, 2022
Fans were also critical of Kyrgios' comments on social media, however he has since lashed out over the criticism.
“F** you media,” Kyrgios wrote on Instagram on Monday night.
“Honestly, I said nothing disrespectful to Ash Barty. I said that the crowd this year was amazing and I feel as if Thanasi Kokkinakis & I were a big part of that.
“Ash’s father came to me and even said that. All I said was that when people watch me around the world the stadiums are full.
"I grew up with Ash & always knew her potential.”
Nick Kyrgios blasts Max Purcell
Kyrgios also took a swipe at Max Purcell, after his opponent in the doubles final accused him and Kokkinakis of being disrespectful.
“As for Max Purcell you donut, regarding your comments after the match, you clearly have no idea about entertainment and sport,” he wrote.
“If you haven’t noticed there is a reason why people actually come to my matches. It’s because the level & my game are actually worth watching.
“Next time you lose another slam final, you should just put your head down and try to figure out how to play the big points better.
"No need to slate other Aussies in the media cuz people would rather watch paint dry than your S&V game style.”
Purcell said in his post-match press conference: “I think it was great for ticket sales here but I’m not so sure how it was taken overseas.
“If you’re watching some of Nick and Thanasi’s matches earlier in the week and you’re overseas, maybe you get turned off tennis a little bit.”
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