Nick Kyrgios has hit out at rival Dominic Thiem after the Austrian dismissed suggestions top-paid stars of the sport should help out those at the bottom.
World No.3 Thiem expressed scepticism about plans to set up a fund to help lower-ranked players struggling because of the tennis shutdown brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
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In an interview with Austria's Krone newspaper, Thiem was asked about last week's announcement by world number one Novak Djokovic that he was working with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal to organise aid for players struggling with the paralysis of the game.
"Quite honestly I have to say that no tennis player will be fighting to survive, even those who are much lower-ranked," Thiem said.
"None of them are going to starve."
He said that his experience competing on the sport's Futures circuit had shown him that there are "many, many players who don't put the sport above everything else and don't live in a professional manner."
"I wouldn't really see why I should give such players money," he went on.
"I would rather give money to people or organisations that really need it," Thiem said.
Thiem's initial comments copped plenty of backlash but the Austrian doubled down on his statement a day later, while trying to explain himself.
“There are many things that bother me. I won’t change my mind. There are some players I do not want to support," he said.
“Some things that I said came across too harsh.”
“It’s a fact, not only in these current times that there are always people, organisations, and animals, who need support more than probably every single sportsperson.”
Kyrgios whacks Thiem’s controversial stance
Now Kyrgios has hit out at his rival on Instagram, insisting that he still doesn't see the bigger picture.
"He (Thiem) still doesn't understand the point," Kyrgios wrote on Instagram.
“We at the top get paid far too much and there is not enough to go around, it's about helping where we can, professional or unprofessional, put yourself in their shoes.
The plan proposed by Djokovic would involve raising between $3 million (2.75 million euros) and $4.5 million, with the cash coming from the prize money for the season-ending World Tour Finals or the final bonus pools for top players.
"None of us top players got anything handed to us, we all had to fight our way up," Thiem said.
"I don't have the guarantee in any job that I will do well and earn lots of money, that's my opinion on the matter," he said.