It didn't take long for Ash Barty's name to start trending on Twitter in the wake of Nick Kyrgios' ugly meltdown after his loss at the US Open on Tuesday.
Kyrgios has come under fire for his actions immediately after his quarter-final loss to Karen Khachanov after he obliterated two racquets in a wild outburst.
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Seconds after shaking hands with Khachanov, the Aussie star proceeded to smash his racquet a number of times on the court before doing the same to a second racquet from his bag.
The ugly scenes were widely condemned amongst tennis fans and commentators.
“That’s not great, that’s not great at all,” Aussie great Todd Woodbridge said in commentary for Channel 9.
American journalist Nigel D'Souza described it as a 'national embarrassment for Australia', while Jude Sannith of CNBC tweeted: “Am I terrible person if I say that I’m really glad Kyrgios did not win?
"That behaviour is disgraceful and has no place in ANY sport. And just the fact that spectators and some pundits romanticise and encourage it, saying 'it’s good for the game' makes it worse.”
Musab Abid from Sportskeeda wrote: “Nick Kyrgios embarrassing himself and the sport for the 7439th time.”
— Nigel D'Souza (@Nigel__DSouza) September 7, 2022
While Kyrgios was the talk of the tennis world, it wasn't long before Barty's name was also trending on Twitter.
Many were quick to point that the retired Aussie champion would never have produced such a display no matter what had happened on the court.
"What a disgrace. Ash Barty would NEVER have behaved that way and took the attention away from the rightful winner," one fan tweeted.
Another wrote: "You would never see the great Ash Barty embarrass AU or herself like that."
Corbin Middlemas of the ABC was among those who defended Kyrgios, saying he thought the outburst just showed how much the Aussie cares.
"Actually like this... from a guy once questioned about how much it all meant to him... sure there's another lesson in the character arc about handling disappointing etc. but one thing at a time," he tweeted.
But one fan replied: "Ash Barty cared a lot too. So did Pat Rafter and Hewitt. So did Yvonne Cawley and a whole host of others.
"None of them ever went anywhere near this sort of violent behaviour after a loss. Call it for what it is, and don’t excuse it."
What a shocking example of sportsmanship and violence to kids, lucky we had Ash Barty she was the exact opposite and a champ she was.
— Jim Pine (@JimPine8) September 7, 2022
What a sook. Dislike him and I don’t care that his antics are a draw card. He sets such a bad example. Compare him to Ash Barty!
— Narelle Moulton (@1952Relle) September 7, 2022
I knew he lost the match but had no idea this happened after the game. You would never see the great Ash Barty embarrass AU or herself like that. The difference between a tool (Kyrgios) and a professional (Ash).
— Peter Hoskins (@PeterH314) September 7, 2022
Ash Barty cared a lot too. So did Pat Rafter & Hewitt. So did Yvonne Cawley and a whole host of others. None of them ever went anywhere near this sort of violent behaviour after a loss. Call it for what it is, and don’t excuse it.
— James Barron (@JamesBa18914143) September 7, 2022
Ash Barty? If she smashed a racquet then I have no doubt that racquet deserved it 😂
— Dan Ichiro (@ric_bunga) September 7, 2022
Nick Kyrgios shattered after loss at US Open
Speaking in his post-match press conference, Kyrgios said he was absolutely devastated after the near-miss.
“I honestly feel like shit. I feel like I’ve let so many people down," he said.
“Just came out flat, physically didn’t feeling great. Then I ended up feeling great towards the end of the match.
"I'm obviously devastated. But all credit to Karen. He's a fighter. He's a warrior. I thought he served really good today. Honestly probably the best server I played this tournament, to be honest, the way he was hitting his spots under pressure.
"He just played the big points well. Really wasn't anything in it. I'm just devastated obviously. Just feel like it was either winning it all or nothing at all, to be honest.
"I feel like I've just failed at this event right now. That's what it feels like."
Kyrgios added: “I think pretty much every other tournament during the year is a waste of time. You just front up, show up at a grand slam. It’s what you’re remembered by.
"These four tournaments are the only ones that are ever going to matter. And it’s just like you’ve got to start it all again, and I have to wait to the Australian Open.
“It’s just devastating. It’s heartbreaking. Not just for me but for everyone I know who wants me to win.”