Nick Kyrgios responds after photo sparks storm ahead of Australian Open

The Aussie tennis star and girlfriend Costeen Hatzi were spotted riding an e-scooter around Melbourne on Sunday.

Nick Kyrgios and Costeen Hatzi, pictured here without helmets while riding an e-scooter in Melbourne ahead of the Australian Open.
Nick Kyrgios and Costeen Hatzi were spotted without helmets while riding an e-scooter in Melbourne ahead of the Australian Open. Image: Getty/AAP

Nick Kyrgios has hit out after potentially landing himself in trouble with the law on the eve of his first match at the Australian Open. A photo came to light on Sunday of Kyrgios and girlfriend Costeen Hatzi riding around Melbourne on an e-scooter ahead of the grand slam tournament.

In the photo, both Kyrgios and Hatzi can be seen not wearing helmets. According to laws in Victoria, helmets are required when riding e-scooters.

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"It's not a good look," Aussie great Todd Woodbridge said on Channel 9's coverage of the Australian Open on Monday morning. The photo was reportedly taken on Elizabeth Street in Melbourne. E-scooters can reach speeds of up to 20 km/h.

Kyrgios has since responded to the furore in a comment on a post from Aussie basketball great Andrew Bogut, which read: “Such a nanny state! Fine him for not taking his OWN safety seriously”. Kyrgios wrote: “Nah it’s too much now”.

Victoria Police later said in a statement: “Police are aware of an online image of a man riding a scooter in Melbourne’s CBD without a helmet. Although it’s unclear when the image was taken, Melbourne Highway Patrol, now that they’re aware, will make enquiries in relation to the incident.”

Nick Kyrgios, pictured here riding a e-scooter on Elizabeth Street in Melbourne with girlfriend Costeen Hatzi.
Nick Kyrgios rides a e-scooter on Elizabeth Street in Melbourne with girlfriend Costeen Hatzi. (AAP Image/James Ross)

Kyrgios will begin his Australian Open campaign against Roman Safiullin of Russia on Tuesday. With limited preparation due to an ankle injury suffered in the lead-up, the Aussie star will be thankful for the extra rest day.

Despite his lack of match practice over the last few weeks, which has been limited to an exhibition against Novak Djokovic, Aussie tennis legend Ken Rosewall believes he can go all the way. Rosewall won the Norman Brooks Challenge Cup in 1953 as an 18-year-old and is also the Open's oldest champion, having won the event for a fourth time in 1972 at 37.

Rosewall, now 88, has previously criticised Kyrgios over his on-court antics. But he hopes the 27-year-old can finally realise his full potential at Melbourne Park this year following his run to the Wimbledon final in 2022.

"He hasn't played a lot of tennis recently due to his injuries, so that might not help him a great deal, but Nick is one player who could rise to the occasion," Rosewall said on Sunday. "Let's hope so - Nick certainly has the ability to win the tournament but time will tell.

"The general consensus of the Australian tennis population is they want to see him play well and go through. He's a good enough player to do it."

Rafa Nadal and Iga Swiatek in action on opening day

Meanwhile, defending champion Rafa Nadal and women's World No.1 Iga Swiatek headline the action on the opening day of the Australian Open. Nadal will face rising British star Jack Draper following back-to-back losses at the United Cup in Sydney - the first time he has ever started a season 0-2.

"Probably one of the toughest first rounds possible, being seeded. Young, powerful, growing very, very fast on the ranking, playing well," Nadal said of his challenger. "A big challenge for me at the beginning to start the tournament. Let's see. I'm here to just give myself a chance.

"I know he's playing well. He has a lot of positive things, and probably a great career in front. I hope to be ready to fight for that first round and let's see what can happen."

Costeen Hatzi, pictured here watching Nick Kyrgios during a practice session before the Australian Open.
Costeen Hatzi watches Nick Kyrgios during a practice session before the Australian Open. (Photo by Kelly Defina/Getty Images)

French and US Open champion Swiatek is bidding for the third leg of a career grand slam. She will launch her Australian Open quest against Jule Niemeier of Germany.

The Polish World No.1 ousted her 68th-ranked opponent from the US Open last September in their only previous encounter. She went on to win the title as a result.

Jason Kubler, John Millman and Rinky Hijikata are the only Australian men playing on Monday, with Kyrgios and Alex de Minaur starting on Tuesday. Wildcards Olivia Gadecki, Storm Hunter and Talia Gibson will fly the flag for Australia, with top-ranked female player Ajla Tomljanovic out with injury.

with AAP

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