The Project co-host slams 'brat-like' Nick Kyrgios message

The Project took aim at Nick Kyrgios' US Open message. Pic: Getty
The Project took aim at Nick Kyrgios' US Open message. Pic: Getty

A powerful and considered video message from Nick Kyrgios - where he announced the reasons why he wouldn't compete in this year's US Open - was praised by many people across the tennis world and beyond.

Like most things when it comes to the Aussie firebrand, however, not everyone was a fan.

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Kyrgios posted a lengthy video message over the weekend where he cited health and safety concerns around the coronavirus pandemic as the reason why he was joining World No.1 Ash Barty in opting out of the Flushing Meadows major.

"I will not be playing this year at the US Open. It hurts me at my core not to be out there competing in one of the sport's greatest arenas, Arthur Ashe Stadium,” Kyrgios said in a video posted by Uninterrupted.

“But I'm sitting out for the people, for my Aussies, for the hundreds and thousands of Americans that have lost their lives, for all of you. It's my decision.”

The Aussie then urged those who are competing in New York, to act responsibly and respect that countless lives have been lost to the virus, around the world.

“You have to be acting in the interests of each other, and work together.

“You can’t be dancing on tables, money-grabbing your way around Europe or trying to make a quick buck hosting an exhibition.

“That’s just so selfish.

“Think about other for once - that’s what this virus is about.

“It doesn’t care about your world ranking, or how much money you have. Act responsibly.”

Kyrgios was praised by many for the selflessness and thoughtfulness of the decision, and the genuine concern with which he delivered his address.

However, The Project co-host Peter van Onselen took exception to the Aussie's statement, saying even when his intentions were pure, Kyrgios still managed to come across as a "brat".

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“He finds a way to make what is a rational comment about the dangers of any tournament going ahead brat-like in the way he delivers it,” van Onselen said on Sunday.

Panellist and comedian Susie Youssef was not as harsh as her colleague but admitted that Kyrgios' message had plenty of attitude.

“I was watching it going, ‘Baby boy and growing up.’ There’s a subtle jab at Djokovic,” Youssef said.

“And he signs off with like it or not. A bit of sass.”

While Kyrgios has been quick to condemn rivals on social media for irresponsible behaviour around the virus crisis, he respected players' rights to make their own choices about whether to play or not.

His statement came days after fellow Australian and women’s world No.1 Ash Barty also announced she would not be attending the US Open, again citing concerns over the coronavirus.

“To those players that have been observing the rules and acting selflessly, I say good luck to you,” Kyrgios said.

“Play at your own risk, and I have no problem with that.”

Kyrgios’ statement comes after British tennis legend Andy Murray predicted more big names would be reluctant to come to the United States.

Murray claims to have heard some of the top men's players will also pull out, even though his commitment to travel to the US remains firm.

World No.1 Novak Djokovic, who has already had coronavirus after hosting an exhibition event in Serbia and Croatia without following social distancing protocols, and defending champion Rafael Nadal have both previously expressed doubts about playing in the tournament.

But both are currently listed as being in the field for Western & Southern Open that precedes the US Open.

with agencies