Former World number 1, Rafael Nadal was stunned by Australian player Nick Kyrgios at Acapulco. The Spaniard slumped to a 6-3 6-7 6-7 defeat to Kyrgios after squandering three match points in the third set.
However, interestingly, Nadal issued a scathing statement on the 23-year-old’s attitude towards the game. Rafa believes that Kyrgios’ attitude is holding him back from becoming a great player.
The 32-year old was referring to Nick’s gesture of cupping his hand behind his ear towards the booing crowd.
Speaking to ESPN, the 17-time Grand Slam champion said, “He is a player who has ginormous talent.”
“He could win Grand Slams and fight the top positions of the ranking, but there is a reason why he is where he is.”
“He lacks respect for the public, the rival and towards himself.”
During the match, Krygios mentioned that he was feeling unwell.
In conversation with his trainers, he said, “I’m gonna get booed off the court! But I feel so sick man. I’m gonna try to play a couple of more games.”
— doublefault28 (@doublefault28) February 28, 2019
The Aussie admitted that he was expecting a negative reaction if he opted to pull out. Kyrgios even threw a thinly veiled jab at the media saying that if he chose to forfeit, the media would blow up the decision out of proportion.”
During the second set, he tried to trick Nadal by serving an underarm shot, which went wide. Needless to say, the 11-time French Open winner was not impressed by this cheeky tactic.
This loss to Kyrgios will definitely put a damper on Nadal’s preparations for the French Open. However, Acapulco is a hard court and Nadal thrives on clay, so he still has a chance. There is a reason that the Spaniard is the undisputed king of clay and he could clinch his 18th ever title at Roland Garros.
Kyrgios later confirmed that he was struck by a bout of food poisoning before the match. He even responded to Nadal’s criticism about his on-court antics and ‘lack of respect’.
Kyrgios’ reply: “He doesn’t know anything about me. That’s the way I play. The way he plays is very slow in between points. The rule in the book says he has to pay to the speed of the server, but Rafa has his speed every time, so I’m not going to comment on him.”
Later, on Instagram, he wrote, ‘I can smell blood when I play this dude’