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Nick Kyrgios has been criticised for his demeanour in his post-match press conference on Tuesday, with pundits saying his abrasive attitude detracts from the positive aspects of his approach.
The 27-year-old appeared slightly combative with the press after his five-set marathon in the first round against Paul Jubb, engaging in a back and forth about the abuse he cops on social media.
It was a dramatic first round for Kyrgios, who admitted he had spat on the court in front of a fan who had been heckling him, as well as criticising the crowd and getting into a debate about the eyesight of a line judge.
Tennis journalist Catherine Whitaker pressed Kyrgios over his comments about the line judge, with the Australian engaging in a bizarre back-and-forth about the age and eyesight of the person he had demanded mid-match to 'get off the court'.
Discussing the lively press conference on the latest episode of The Tennis Podcast, Whitaker said she believed Kyrgios had a great deal of perspective to offer the tennis world, but that his attitude often flies in the face of otherwise good points he is trying to make.
“He had some important things to say about that, it does sound horrific – tennis has a problem, the world has a problem with policing social media," Whitaker said.
"Tennis players shouldn’t have to endure that nor should anyone, it’s awful.
“It really upsets me that he can’t make that point logically and sort of leave it there or let it lead to somewhere logical or interesting or productive.
“Because what he actually does is make that point and then in his head pretty much use it to justify any behaviour both on the court and in the press room afterwards."
Whittaker said Kyrgios was victim of a 'distorted logic' in which he blames outside forces for his losses - hence his outbursts at the line judge.
The most polarising figure in tennis spat at the crowd and lashed out at match officials during a fiery first round win at Wimbledon.
Nick Kyrgios is standing by his actions, even questioning the age and eyesight of one linesman. #9News pic.twitter.com/Qc0xCk7Q8S
— 9News Melbourne (@9NewsMelb) June 29, 2022
Nick Kyrgios asked if he spat directly into the crowd after winning his first round match at #Wimbledon.
"In direction of one of the people disrespecting me, yes. I would not do that to someone who was supporting me".
— José Morgado (@josemorgado) June 28, 2022
Describing this habit as 'stupid', Whitaker said Kyrgios was dismissive of the consequence of his own words and actions.
“He says, ‘They’re not getting the online abuse that I’m getting when they do badly at their job’ and you know I asked him ‘Do you know that? Have you ever spoken to an umpire or a line judge about their experience of their job and what it’s like to try and understand things from their side?’" Whitaker said.
“And he said ‘No no, but of course they’re not getting what I’m getting’. And I’m not, but they have their own experience.
"Your experience is not justification for you behaving however you damn well like, which is appallingly. And today wasn’t even one of his worst.”
Nick Kyrgios called out over combative Wimbledon press conference
Podcast co-host, British broadcaster David Law, concurred with Whitaker.
He said press conferences like Kyrgios' first at Wimbledon this year were more likely to leave viewers and fans confused than anything.
“They’re very difficult Nick Kyrgios press conferences when they’re like that, because he is bringing up important topics and he is prepared to which is great. It’s important that players are prepared to do that," Law said.
“And yet in a way he’s almost the worst person to have that conversation with because he’s so inflexible and so tunnel-visioned about how he sees something and it’s all about his own experience.
"He doesn’t put himself in someone else's shoes or think about anything else other than what he’s experienced.
“It just makes it a completely almost pointless back and forth between the journalists and him because no-ones getting anywhere, even though it’s good that he’s brought up the topic in the first place."
Kyrgios felt compelled to speak out because "I just think spectators in general think there's just no line there any more".
"They can just say something and they film it and then they laugh about it. It's like that could actually hurt someone's feelings."
Feeling he and his family had been targeted on social media for too long, Kyrgios rejected an insinuation that he'd at times been equally as disrespectful to umpires during his turbulent career.
"If we go through my Instagram compared to an umpire's, it's disgusting some of the things I deal with," he said.
"Like my brother has alopecia, and they joke about him being a cancer patient. I doubt the umpires are dealing with that."
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