Australian Open 2022: Nick Kyrgios trashes Michael Venus after ‘knob’ sledge

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Nick Kyrgios said he wouldn’t “destroy” Michael Venus after the Kiwi’s sledge — but he went ahead and did just that anyway.

Nick Kyrgios has returned serve in a subtle but clear manner after being labelled an “absolute knob” by Kiwi counterpart Michael Venus.

Venus and German playing partner Tim Puetz were beaten in three sets by Kyrgios and fellow Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis in the quarter-finals of the men’s doubles draw at Melbourne Park in front of a raucous crowd the hometown heroes whipped into a frenzy.

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In an interview with TVNZ after the match, Venus teed off on Kyrgios, saying he had the maturity level of a 10-year-old and that it was clear “why he’s never fulfilled his potential and probably never will”.

As has been the case in all of Kyrgios’ matches at the Australian Open — singles and doubles — the crowd was again boisterous on Rod Laver Arena on Thursday during the Aussie duo’s semi-final win against No. 3 seeds Horacio Zeballos and Marcel Granollers.

Kyrgios and Kokkinakis won the match in straight sets, after which Kyrgios addressed Venus’ comments.

“I’m not going to destroy Michael Venus during this press conference, but Zeballos and Granollers are singles players. They’ve had great careers. I respect them a lot more than I respect Michael Venus,” Kyrgios said.

“I think the balance was there today. I think the quality of tennis was amazing and I think the festival atmosphere was still there.

“I think they embraced it, they knew it was an incredible atmosphere. Zeballos took a selfie with us before we walked out, that’s how you embrace an atmosphere. Do you know what I mean?

“You’re not losing a match and then getting salty about it afterwards. It’s ridiculous.”

Kokkinakis also weighed in on how their rivals have reacted to the unique atmosphere on court, referencing their upset of top-seeded Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic — after which a member of the Croatians’ entourage reportedly threatened to fight Kyrgios in the locker room afterwards.

“I think for the most part it’s not us trying to disrespect the opponents. It’s us trying to get

the crowd going to just increase the atmosphere,” he said.

“Sometimes the opponents take it personally. That’s what happened with the Croatians that we played, the No. 1 seeds.

“Obviously Michael took offence to that. We’re not doing anything directly to them to try and

disrespect. We’re just trying to get the crowd even more hyped, and then some of them take it personally.”

Kyrgios and Kokkinakis, who entered the men’s doubles draw as a wildcard, will now meet fellow unseeded Australian pair Matthew Ebden and Max Purcell in the final on Saturday night.

It’s been 42 years since the last All-Australian men’s doubles final at the Australian Open.

This story originally appeared on the NZ Herald and was reproduced with permission

Originally published as Nick Kyrgios trashes Kiwi tennis star over ‘knob’ sledge

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