Nick Kyrgios has come under fire for his actions in the trophy ceremony at Wimbledon on Sunday after a final act of defiance against officials.
Novak Djokovic denied Kyrgios a maiden grand slam title with a drama-charged four-set win over the unseeded Australian in Sunday's final.
Djokovic defied an early barrage and 30 aces from Kyrgios to clinch a seventh Wimbledon crown and 21st grand slam title with a 4-6 6-3 6-4 7-6 (7-3) victory.
However it were the actions of Kyrgios that stole the limelight after the final, most notably his decision to wear a red cap during the trophy presentation.
Kyrgios had rowed with a reporter earlier in the tournament after wearing the hat following his third-round victory over Brandon Nakashima.
The red cap is a clear breach of Wimbledon's all-white dress code, but the Aussie clearly didn't care about breaking the rules after Sunday's final.
Kyrgios switched his white hat for the red one while sitting at his court-side chair and then accepted the runner-up trophy from the Duchess of Cambridge while wearing it.
Tennis fans and commentators were quick to call out the Aussie star for his 'disrespectful' move, which some labelled an 'insult' to Wimbledon traditions.
British tennis writer Mike Dickson labelled it a “final act of defiance”, while editor Kevin Palmer tweeted: “A rebel to the end. Nick Kyrgios has been told not to wear his red hat on Centre Court. He simply doesn’t care!!”
Aussie journalist Todd Balym wrote: "Oh Nick, you lost and you were a good sport in the handshake with Novak. But lose the effing red hat. Show some respect to the tournament and traditions while you're still centre stage."
— Uche Amako (@UcheAmako) July 10, 2022
Kyrgios receiving the runner up trophy with a red cap.
Big fine coming.
— José Morgado (@josemorgado) July 10, 2022
— Rita Mensah (@justRitaMensah) July 10, 2022
— Kevin Palmer (@RealKevinPalmer) July 10, 2022
Nick Kyrgios insults Wimbledon tradition until the end and put his red cap on at the end of the match
Embarrassment to tennis again
— Chris Goldsmith (@TheTennisTalker) July 10, 2022
Presented an award by royalty… no bow and keeps his cap on… totally disrespectful of Nick Kyrgios!
At least Djokovic had the decency to do so #wimbledon
— DAN. (@D4N7O) July 10, 2022
— Lauren Brigden (@LozBB) July 10, 2022
Nick Kyrgios falls short in Wimbledon final
Kyrgios had been bidding to become Australia's first male grand slam singles champion since Lleyton Hewitt won the title at the All England Club in 2002.
He looked on track after taking the opening set with some scintillating tennis, but Djokovic drew on all of his vast experience to wear down the Aussie in temperatures nudging towards 40 degrees on the sport's most famous centre court.
"Hats off to him. That was a hell of a match," Kyrgios said.
"I thought I served well. I put myself in a position to win, but I just wasn't able to play those clutch points well at all today.
"He's a bit of a god, I'm not going to lie. I thought I played well.
"I'd like to congratulate Novak. He's won this championship I don't even know how many times anymore."
Djokovic graciously declared of Kyrgios: "Nick, you'll be back. Not just Wimbledon, but finals.
"It's hard to find consolation words after such a tough loss but you showed why you deserve to be one of the best players in the world, particularly on this surface.
"Congrats to you and all your team for an amazing tournament. I wish you all the best, man. I really do.
"I really respect you a lot. I think you're a phenomenal tennis player and athlete, an amazing talent. I mean, you'll be hearing that for many years.
"But now everything is starting to come together for you and I'm sure we're going to see much of you in the later stages of the grand slams."
Considering their once frosty relationship, Djokovic said he never envisaged lavishing Kyrgios with such compliments.
"I never thought I'm going to say so many nice things about you considering the relationship," he laughed.
"Okay, it's officially a bromance," said the Serb, to gales of laughter from the centre court crowd as he agreed to the pair's pre-match social media deal that Sunday's winner owed the loser a dinner.
"I don't know if we're going to make it happen tonight or some other night but, hopefully, this is the start of a wonderful relationship - off court as well."
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