In the fast-paced world of professional tennis, one player consistently manages to make headlines for reasons that extend beyond his powerful serve and on-court skills.
Nick Kyrgios, the Australian tennis maverick known for his unpredictable behaviour, has once again thrust himself into the spotlight, this time with a controversial sledge against one of the greats of the game.
In a riveting clash of words, tennis firebrand Kyrgios and tennis legend Boris Becker have ignited a public war of words, shedding light on the ongoing debate about how tennis skills have changed over the years.
“The game was so slow back then,” Kyrgios told The Athletic.
“I’ve watched Boris Becker and I’m not saying they weren’t good in their time, but to say that they would be just as good (as modern players) now, it’s absurd.
“A big serve back then was like 197 to 200km/h. People like me, we serve 220 consistently, to corners. It’s a whole different ball game.
“I’m not saying they wouldn’t have found their way. But serve and volley (for instance), to do it all the time now, you need to be serving 220, because if you serve anything less than 220, bro, Djokovic eats you alive. He eats you alive.
“Bro, Lleyton Hewitt destroyed Sampras one year at the US Open. That was the first prototype of someone who could return serve. He made Sampras look like s***.
“And what would Djokovic do to someone like Sampras? It would be a cleanup. If Hewitt was doing it, Djokovic would destroy him. He would eat him alive.”
Becker, not one to take such comments lightly, fired back at Kyrgios, questioning the Aussie’s credibility.
“Nick makes a lot of noise about tennis lately!?!” Becker wrote.
“Why does he speak about a sport he apparently hates… Fact-check: Nick has never won a major championship as a player or coach (yes doubles, one) so where is any credibility coming from?
“Trying to compare generations… Laver v Federer, Borg v Nadal, Sampras v Djokovic!?! I am not even gonna mention McEnroe, Conners, Lendl, Agassi, Courier, Edberg, Wilander, Kuerten, Bruguer, Rafter, Hewitt and many more… Speak to your @OnlyFans about many things but tennis.”
Unfazed, Kyrgios swiftly returned serve, mocking Becker’s recent legal troubles.
“Hahahaha this bloke speaking about credibility…… Last I checked you were the one hiding assets, no?” Kyrgios said.
“Also I mean I’ve beaten, Federer, Nadal, Djokovic, Murray so I feel like I have a little credibility…. But it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that Novak would wipe the floor against you in your prime?
“Like it’s not an attack. It’s just facts.”
Kyrgios’ comments come after the ever-unpredictable sports star once again sent ripples through the sports world by hinting at retirement.
Fans might be experiencing a sense of déjà vu, as the Aussie sensation has dabbled in retirement hints before, leaving us to wonder if this is a genuine farewell or just another chapter in the book of Kyrgios theatrics.
As doubts continue to grow as to whether the one-time Wimbledon finalist will overcome injury to one day return to the court, the 28-year-old has revealed he no longer wants to play tennis
Despite no desire to compete, Kyrgios maintains he will one day make a comeback and retire on his terms.
“If it was up to me, I don’t really want to play anymore to be honest,” Kyrgios told the On Purpose with Jay Shetty podcast.
“I have to almost (keep playing). I’ve got so much more to give but, for me, I don’t feel like playing anymore.
“I’m exhausted, I’m tired. I have had three surgeries now that … I’m only 28 years old, I always wanted to have a family and not be in pain. When I get up, I can’t walk without pain.
“It’s a tough gig.”
Kyrgios shared with the British podcaster that if he could turn back time, he might think twice about grabbing a racquet in the first place.