'Bad for tennis': Kyrgios hits back over brutal Nadal criticism

Nick Kyrgios has poured more fuel on the fire of his rivalry with Rafael Nadal with a sarcastic response to scathing comments from the Spaniard’s camp.

Kyrgios’s latest outburst of unruly behaviour has other players split on whether the temperamental Australian should be handed a long-term ban.

The Australian walked off the court and threw a chair onto the red clay during a fit of rage during his second-round match at the Italian Open on Thursday, leading to him being defaulted and fined.

The latest incident came in for some stinging criticism from Nadal’s uncle and former coach Toni Nadal, who claimed the Australian needed to take a hard look at himself.

“I feel bad for him, but something is failing, the ATP has given him too much hype, he plays very well, but with another mentality he would aspire to the maximum, he should make an effort to change,” Nadal said, according to El Espanol.

Toni Nadal says Kyrgios’ behaviour is bad for tennis. Pic: Getty
Toni Nadal says Kyrgios’ behaviour is bad for tennis. Pic: Getty

“It’s hard for him to take the pressure and the difficulty of the competition, he does not do any good in the sport, in the end there is no other option but to put a penalty on him.”

“It is bad for tennis and has entered a dynamic that hurts him, something is failing, it is not normal, I have seen the images and his attitude is quite painful.”

Kyrgios, who has a history of bad blood with Rafael Nadal, following his controversial win against the Spaniard at Acapulco earlier in the year, hit back at the Spaniard’s uncle in a cheeky social media post.

The Aussie’s latest response follows on explosive attack he launched on the behaviour of Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Fernando Verdasco, during a No Challenges Remaining podcast.

Players split over Kyrgios penalty

Kyrgios’s opponent at the Italian Open, Norwegian qualifier Casper Ruud, called for the Aussie to be banned for six months or longer.

Roger Federer, though, thinks Kyrgios’s default and fine was an appropriate enough punishment.

“I don’t think he should be suspended,” Federer said. “He walked off the court. What did he do? He hurt a chair? That’s not enough for me.

“I don’t know if he’s on probation or not from his Shanghai thing. If that’s the case, then obviously you can maybe look into it. If that’s run its course, I don’t think he should be suspended.”

Kyrgios was already suspended by the ATP Tour for two months in 2016 for “tanking” a match and insulting fans during a loss at the Shanghai Masters.

The latest incident occurred on an outer court at the Foro Italico, with Kyrgios losing 6-3 6-7 (7-5) 2-1 against Ruud.

First, Kyrgios slammed his racket on the clay and kicked a water bottle. Then he picked up a white chair and flung it onto the court with his right hand.

The men’s tour said Kyrgios will lose 33,635 euros ($A54,500) in prize money from the tournament and 45 ATP points.

Kyrgios has come under fire for his Italian Open antics. Pic: Getty
Kyrgios has come under fire for his Italian Open antics. Pic: Getty

Kyrgios was also fined 20,000 euros ($A32,500) for the three unsportsmanlike conduct penalties he received during the match and must cover the cost of his hospitality during the tournament, the ATP said.

“A zero pointer, fine, all this stuff is already tough enough,” Federer added. “He knows it’s a mistake what happened.”

Ruud said many players were debating how long Kyrgios should be suspended for.

“It doesn’t seem like anything makes him change these days,” Ruud said. “The ATP should do something. … I’m not the only one who thinks he should be suspended for at least half a year.”

Before leaving the court, Kyrgios shook hands with Ruud and the chair umpire.

“Very eventful day to say the least,” Kyrgios wrote on Instagram. “Emotions got the better of me and I just wanted to say that the atmosphere was crazy out there today, just super unfortunate that it had to end in a default. Sorry Roma, see you again, maybe.”

Before he was defaulted, Kyrgios received a warning for ball abuse, then was docked a point for unsportsmanlike conduct and lost a game for more unsportsmanlike conduct.

“He was getting angry that some guy was walking in between his first and second serve,” Ruud said. “Then he was getting more and more angry. … He does whatever he feels like doing. I think he got what he deserved.”

Top-ranked Novak Djokovic, who is president of the ATP player council, said he had “no opinion” on whether Kyrgios should be suspended.

“I’ll let others, officials, decide that,” Djokovic said.

With agencies