Roger Federer sides with Nick Kyrgios over Rafael Nadal controversy

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Roger Federer has gone in to bat for Nick Kyrgios over a controversial tactic he employed against Rafael Nadal.

Nadal hit Kyrgios was some stunning criticism after the Aussie pulled off a shock loss in Mexico on Thursday, saying he didn’t respect the public, his rival or himself.

It is believed Nadal was particularly peeved about Kyrgios attempting an underarm serve late in the third set of the match.

Nadal was so far behind the baseline while Kyrgios was serving that the Aussie thought he’d attempt what was effectively a drop shot serve.

Nadal was so far back that Kyrgios attempted a drop shot. Image: Tennis Channel
Nadal was so far back that Kyrgios attempted a drop shot. Image: Tennis Channel

A number of fans also criticised Kyrgios for the cheeky act, but according to Federer there’s nothing wrong with it.

“Yeah underarm is definitely a tactic I believe,” Federer said after making the semi-finals in Dubai.

“Especially when guys are hugging the fence in the back.

“From that standpoint (players) shouldn’t be ashamed to try it out.

“You just look silly if you miss it sometimes. But why not try it?”

Federer doesn’t see a problem with Kyrgios’ tactic. Image: Getty
Federer doesn’t see a problem with Kyrgios’ tactic. Image: Getty

Kyrgios also defended himself on Facebook after the match.

“That’s the only reason for doing it,” he said in response to a fan.

“I mean isn’t the idea to serve where the person can’t get the ball? Try to get an ace?”

Kyrgios hits back

Kyrgios later returned serve at Nadal, saying he wouldn’t “listen at all” to the world No.2.

The Australian displayed some of his best form when beating Nadal in a tight three-setter at the Mexican Open on Wednesday in Acapulco but the high-quality spectacle didn’t translate into positive words for the former world No.13.

There were several flashpoints in the match but Nadal appeared most incensed when Kyrgios complained about the time this year’s Australian Open runner-up was taking between points on the Canberran’s serve.

It prompted Nadal to say in a post-match media conference that Kyrgios should be fighting for grand slams under the No.1 ranking but “lacks respect for the crowd, his opponent and towards himself”.

Nick Kyrgios complained about Nadal’s slow play. (Photo by PEDRO PARDO/AFP/Getty Images)
Nick Kyrgios complained about Nadal’s slow play. (Photo by PEDRO PARDO/AFP/Getty Images)

Responding after Nadal’s comments, Kyrgios seemed non-plussed.

“I’m different. Rafa’s different. He can focus on what he needs to do,” Kyrgios said.

“He doesn’t know the journey I’ve been through. He doesn’t know anything about me so I’m not going to listen at all.”

Kyrgios, one of the fastest players on tour between points, then took aim at Nadal, who is among the slowest.

“It’s the way I play. It’s the way he plays – he’s very slow between points and I think that the rule in the book is that you have to play to the speed of the server but Rafa has the speed every time,” Kyrgios said.

“I’m not going to comment on him, his game. I’ve got my game; he’s got his own game. We played well – that’s the sport. People are different – I’m not going to take that into consideration at all.”

with AAP

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