Nick Kyrgios whacks tennis great Pat Cash over 'stupid' Aus Open crowd call

The former Wimbledon champion had a message for fans ahead of the Australian Open.

On the left is Aussie tennis great Pat Cash and Nick Kyrgios on right.
Pat Cash's plea to Australian Open fans has been savaged by Nick Kyrgios. Pic: Getty

Sidelined star Nick Kyrgios has described suggestions from Pat Cash as "stupid" after the Aussie tennis great called on crowds to be more respectful at this year's Australian Open. Kyrgios is never shy in letting his feelings be known and took aim at the two-time major winner on Friday over comments Cash made in the lead up to the Melbourne Park grand slam.

The source of Kyrgios' frustration stemmed from a recent ABC documentary featuring Aussie great Cash, who claimed the behaviour of many fans had started to get "a little out of control" over recent years at the Australian Open. The former Wimbledon champion suggested the issue was born out national parochialism and urged Aussie fans to understand that unlike team events such as Davis Cup, players were competing purely for themselves at the grand slam.

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"Cheer on your countrymen, no problems, but they’re not representing your country, they’re individual and I think we need to understand that," Cash said. “We should have more respect for the international players that come over here. We’ve got to also accept that if it goes too far.”

The Australian Open is by no means the only grand slam tournament where local fans get behind their own players - perhaps at times a bit too enthusiastically. US Open fans have been notoriously harsh on non-American players over the years, while French and British fans are also understandably nationalistic when it comes to their home-grown stars at the French Open and Wimbledon, respectively.

In fact, organisers of the four grand slams always take local players and home fans into consideration when scheduling fixtures on the main courts. Kyrgios knows all too well the effect a boisterous home crowd can have on his own game and has often spoken of his preference to play on the smaller and louder John Cain Arena over the years at the Australian Open.

He and Aussie compatriot Thanasi Kokkinakis famously rode a wave of home support on their way to the doubles crown in 2022, frequently whipping fans into a frenzy in front of packed houses at Melbourne Park. It's no surprise then that the 28-year-old couldn't disagree more with Cash's contentious take on the crowd situation at the Australian Open.

Pictured left to right, Thanasi Kokkinakis and Nick Kyrgios at the 2022 Australian Open.
Thanasi Kokkinakis and Nick Kyrgios rode a wave of frenzied home support on their way to winning the Australian Open doubles title in 2022. Pic: Getty

Nick Kyrgios takes issue with Pat Cash stance

The Aussie firebrand - who has once again been forced to withdraw from the grand slam due to injury - accused Cash, 58, of being out of touch with the modern-day fan. Kyrgios argues that players have a role to play as entertainers and fans should be encouraged to showcase their national pride, rather than stifled from doing so as Cash suggested.

“Absolutely stupid comment by another old head that has no idea how marketing or how things work in today’s day and age... you need entertainment,” Kyrgios told Daily Mail Australia. “This generation doesn’t have a long attention span. That’s why you see clips on Instagram rolling. They’re 15-20 seconds long.

“Someone like Pat Cash wouldn’t be able to grasp that concept. I’m not taking anything away from Pat Cash - incredible player of his generation, but we need to continue to make the sport grow.

“We need the crowds to feel part of the sport. We need entertainment. We need people having beers and the players loving it. We need human interaction. We’re human, not robots.”

While Kyrgios will be a notable absentee on the courts when the Australian Open gets underway on Sunday, he will still feature across the two weeks at Melbourne Park as part of Eurosport's coverage of the grand slam. The 28-year-old will join a broadcasting team that also includes German tennis legend Boris Becker - a man he's clashed with several times in a years-long feud on social media.

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