Nick Kyrgios' brutal response to Stefanos Tsitsipas 'bully' claim

Nick Kyrgios and Stefanos Tsitsipas, pictured here in an ugly war-of-words after their match at Wimbledon.
Nick Kyrgios and Stefanos Tsitsipas engaged in an ugly war-of-words after their match at Wimbledon. Image: Wimbledon

Nick Kyrgios has fired back at claims from Stefanos Tsitsipas that he's a 'bully', labelling the World No.5 'soft' in a fiery post-script to their Wimbledon encounter.

Kyrgios shocked Tsitsipas in their third-round clash on Saturday, advancing to the last-16 in a 6-7 (2-7) 6-4 6-3 7-6 (9-7) triumph.

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The match was littered with controversy and ill-will, with Tsitsipas appearing to hit a number of balls at Kyrgios after the Aussie star demanded his opponent be defaulted for whacking a ball into the crowd in anger at the end of the second set.

Speaking in his post-match press conference, Tsitsipas took aim at Kyrgios and labelled his triumphant opponent a 'bully'.

"It's constant bullying, that's what he does. He bullies the opponents," the Greek star said.

"He was probably a bully at school himself. I don't like bullies. I don't like people that put other people down.

"He has some good traits in his character as well. But he also has a very evil side to him, which, if it's exposed, it can really do a lot of harm and bad to the people around him."

Kyrgios laughed off Tsitsipas' claims before sarcastically saying he'd be upset as well if he'd lost to the same opponent four times in as many matches.

Kyrgios is now 4-0 in four career meetings with Tsitsipas at tour level.

Nick Kyrgios, pictured here after beating Stefanos Tsitsipas in a spiteful clash at Wimbledon.
Nick Kyrgios beat Stefanos Tsitsipas in a spiteful clash at Wimbledon. (Photo by Frey/TPN/Getty Images)

"I don't know what to say. I'm not sure how I bullied him," Kyrgios said.

"He was the one hitting balls at me, he was the one that hit a spectator, he was the one that smacked it out of the stadium.

"I didn't do anything. Apart from me just going back and forth to the umpire for a bit, I did nothing towards Stefanos today that was disrespectful, I don't think. I was not drilling him with balls."

Kyrgios also labelled Tsitsipas 'soft' after the Greek star said the Aussie's behaviour 'triggered' him and caused some of his outbursts.

Tsitsipas copped a point penalty at one stage for smashing a return off a Kyrgios under-arm serve into a scoreboard.

However the Greek conceded he was actually "aiming for the body of my opponent but I missed by a lot".

Nick Kyrgios, pictured here after beating Stefanos Tsitsipas at Wimbledon.
Nick Kyrgios roars with delight after beating Stefanos Tsitsipas at Wimbledon. (Photo by Zac Goodwin/PA Images via Getty Images)

Stefanos Tsitsipas and Nick Kyrgios in ugly war of words

The ousted fourth seed said he wished the players could come together to find a solution to Kyrgios' on-court antics.

"This needs to stop. It's not okay. Someone needs to sit down with him," Tsitsipas said.

"I'm not used to play this way. But I cannot just sit there, act like a robot and act like someone that is completely cold and ignorant.

"It has happened three, four times now. Okay, one time I understand, but if it starts happening two, three, four times, it really gets to your nerves.

"Because you're out there doing your job, and you have noise coming from the other side of the court for no absolute reason.

Stefanos Tsitsipas, pictured here during his clash with Nick Kyrgios at Wimbledon.
Stefanos Tsitsipas looks on during his clash with Nick Kyrgios at Wimbledon. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

"Every single point that I played today I feel like there was something going on on the other side of the net.

"I'm not trying to be distracted by that because I know it might be intentional because for sure he can play other way and that's his way of manipulating the opponent and making you feel distracted, in a way.

"There is no other player that does this. There is no other player that is so upset and frustrated all the time with something.

"I really hope all us players can come up with something and make this a cleaner version of our sport, have this kind of behaviour not accepted, not allowed, not tolerated."

But Kyrgios said he doubted the locker-room would turn on him and said Tsitsipas would never be man enough to confront him directly.

"He's that soft. To come in here and say I bullied him, that's just soft," Kyrgios said.

"If he's affected by that today, then that's what's holding him back. Because someone can just do that and that's going to throw him off his game like that. I just think it's soft.

"I'm good in the locker room. I've got many friends, just to let you know. I'm actually one of the most liked. I'm set.

"He's not liked. Let's just put that there."

Tsitsipas was also in no mood to congratulate Kyrgios after the final point, engaging in one of the frostiest post-match handshakes in recent memory with very little eye contact.

"I can officially say I have never given a handshake like that in my life," Kyrgios said.

"Every time I've lost, when I defaulted against Ruud, I looked people in the eye and I say, 'Well done today, you were the better man', and he wasn't man enough to do that today."

with AAP

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