Nick Kyrgios has proven he's more than willing to hang onto a grudge, after taking a potshot at long-time nemesis Fernando Verdasco on social media. The Spanish tennis player recently accepted a two-month anti-doping ban after failing to renew an exemption for approved medication.
Verdasco tested positive to methylphenidate, which forms part of an ADHD medication the 39-year-old has long been taking. However, the detection in the doping test, combined with his failure to ensure his exemption was up to date, left the International Tennis Integrity Agency with little choice but to suspend him.
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In announcing the sanction against Verdasco the ITIA made it clear they did not believe he had intended to cheat, but that the ban had to be enforced to ensure the system remained robust. Verdasco's positive sample was recorded at an ATP Challenger event back in February.
The admission from authorities that they did not believe Verdasco had intentionally done anything untoward was hardly going to stop Kyrgios, who chimed in on Twitter to re-tweet Verdasco's sanction. "Can't say I'm surprised with this one," he wrote.
Verdasco's suspension will last until January 8 next year, and he has been re-issued a therapeutic use exemption for his medication. Kyrgios and Verdasco have maintained an acrimonious relationship on tour which dates back to a run-in the Spaniard had with fellow Aussie, Thanasi Kokkinakis, back in 2018.
During a match at the Miami Open that year, Verdasco stopped the match during the third set to complain about a man in the stands consistently talking during play. The man was soon revealed to be Kokkinakis' father - not that Verdasco had any way of knowing.
Verdasco attempted to assure an infuriated Kokkinakis that he wasn't talking about his father, but when he pointed out the man in question in the stands he copped a blunt answer from Kokkinakis. "That's my f***ing dad," the Aussie star shot back.
Nick Kyrgios continues feud with Spanish tennis star Fernando Verdasco
Kyrgios quickly came to the defence of his compatriot Kokkinakis. He took to Twitter with a since-deleted insult directed at Verdasco, which the Spaniard later called him out for.
In a secondary Tweet, Kyrgios claimed he'd deleted the original one to prevent it from gaining an unnecessary amount of attention. He also claimed he would have repeated the insult to Verdasco's face if he had the opportunity.
Kyrgios wasn't done there though, again blasting Verdasco during his memorable interview with tennis writer Ben Rothenberg on his podcast, No Challenges Remaining. The Aussie star called out a number of top players in the sensational interview, but also kept some of his scorn for Verdasco.
He labelled Verdasco 'the most arrogant person ever' in the interview, which came after he also accused him of being a sore loser on social media. It comes after Kyrgios copped some criticism of his own for his decision to opt out of playing the Davis Cup for Australia.
Davis Cup captain Lleyton Hewitt said he had made numerous attempts to convince Kyrgios to join the team, which went on to make the final in 2022 for the first time in 20 years. Kokkinakis, who had been playing in the ATP Finals doubles competition the week before the Davis Cup final, made his way to join his teammates while Kyrgios preferred to bring his singles season to a conclusion.
Asked if might be able to persuade Kyrgios, who's enjoyed his most successful season headed by a run to the final at Wimbledon, to join the team again next year, Hewitt just shrugged with a weary smile: "I don't know. You have to ask him. I can't try any harder."
Hewitt was pressed if he'd done everything in his power to get Kyrgios on board for Australia, Hewitt added: "Of course. I try and come here with the best possible team we could field."
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