Nick Kyrgios has come to the defence of Andy Murray, blasting Mats Wilander’s controversial comments about the former World No.1.
Wilander caused a stir on Sunday when he questioned whether Murray should have been granted a wild card entry into the French Open, suggesting there were players more deserving.
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Murray was completely outmatched as he lost his first round encounter with Stan Wawrinka 6-1, 6-3, 6-2.
After the match, seven-time major winner Wilander suggested it might be time for Murray to retire.
“I worry about Andy Murray. I would love to hear him say why he is out there, giving us a false sense of hope that he going to come back one day,” Wilander said in commentary for Eurosport.
“I keep getting a little bit disappointed, is it his right to be out there doing that? Why? I did it and I shouldn't have, it was the biggest mistake I did in my career.
“I think Andy Murray needs to stop thinking of himself and start thinking about who he was.
“Does he have a right to be out there taking wildcards from the young players?”
But those comments didn’t sit well with Kyrgios.
The Aussie firebrand, no stranger to taking potshots at some of the sport’s biggest names in recent times, leapt to the defence of 33-year-old Murray.
“Just read what Wilander said about @andy_murray .... shut up Mats, no one cares,” tweeted Kyrgios.
“Muzz, just know that how ever long you stay, we all appreciate and enjoy your tennis and banter.
“Also I've never watched a point of Mats Wilander.”
Just read what Wilander said about @andy_murray .... shut up Mats, no one cares. Muzz, just know that how ever long you stay, we all appreciate and enjoy your tennis and banter. Also I’ve never watched a point of Mats Wilander. 😂🤦🏽♂️— Nicholas Kyrgios (@NickKyrgios) September 28, 2020
Controversy over Mats Wilander comments
Murray, a three-time grand slam champion and runner-up at the French Open in 2016, has undergone two hip surgeries in order to cure an injury which pushed him to the brink of retirement.
After his loss to Wawrinka - his first opening round defeat in Paris since his 2006 debut - Murray insisted he intends to keep playing even though his ranking is now 111.
Murray also found support from former coach Daniel Vallverdu, who coached him from 2010-2014.
“He's entitled to his opinion. Like I'm entitled to mine to think that's absolutely PATHETIC from Mats...,” tweeted Vallverdu, who is now the coach of Wawrinka.
American great Jim Courier also came to Murray’s defence.
“Mats is a friend of mine and I respect his opinion greatly, [but] … Andy has every right to take wildcards if they are offered, and tournaments have every right to give them to him if they want to,” Courier said on ITV.
“It is up to Andy as to how long he wants to play.
“This is all about him having the power to decide he will end his career on his terms rather than his hip deciding.
“And it is a remarkable story, that the doctors have given him this chance to come back. He is never going to move the way he did – he knows that.
“He says he doesn’t want to win outside of his game style but, frankly, there are going to be matches like yesterday where, if he wants to be competitive, he is going to have to hit the ball bigger, he is going to have to play differently.
“But there are other matches where he can use his guile and his hands and his wonderful imagination to win as well.”
Wilander's Eurosport colleague Alex Corretja, a former coach of Murray, said he respected Wilander's opinion but said Murray needs to be given a chance to enjoy the rest of his career.
“My advice is to retire one year too late rather than one year too early,” Spaniard Corretja said.
“I believe that once the indoors season starts he will feel much better.”
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