Tennis pundit rips Nick Kyrgios over comments at Wimbledon

Nick Kyrgios, pictured here at Wimbledon.
Nick Kyrgios has been criticised by prominent tennis reporter Catherine Whitaker, who believes his demeanour detracts from otherwise important messages he seeks to get across. Pictures: Wimbledon/Twitter

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.

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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.

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.”

Catherine Whitaker and Annabel Croft, pictured here during the US Open in 2018.
Amazon Prime TV presenters Catherine Whitaker and Annabel Croft look on during the US Open in 2018. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images) (Julian Finney via Getty Images)

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."

Nick Kyrgios, pictured here in action against Paul Jubb at Wimbledon.
Nick Kyrgios took five sets to overcome first round challenger Paul Jubb at Wimbledon, showing frustration towards the crowd and officials along the way. (Photo by Simon Stacpoole/Offside/Offside via Getty Images) (Offside via Getty Images)

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."

With AAP

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