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The Heated Battle Between Nick Kyrgios and Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon 2019

Rafael Nadal

Nick Kyrgios grabbed the tennis world by storm in 2014 when he upset Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon. Since then Kyrgios has emerged as one of the game’s great young talents, building an impressive resume.

Since Kyrgios’ victory over Nadal, he’s been known almost as much for his off the court antics as he is for what he does on the court. He’s a fiery player who sometimes has trouble keeping his anger in check. 

The latest target of his ire? None other than the legendary Rafael Nadal. 

Nick Kyrgios history of outrageousness

While Nadal’s place in the annals of tennis history is secure as a legendary figure, Kyrgios has a more complicated story. He’s well known for courting controversy. In a sport known for its meltdowns, he’s had his fair share. ESPN made a list of some of these issues, including: 

  • A near disqualification at Wimbledon 2014 for shouting and smashing his racquet. 
  • Making an off-color remark about the girlfriend of a fellow tour member Stan Wawrinka that netted him a hefty fine and a suspension. 
  • Verbally abusing an umpire at Wimbledon 2015.
  • Smashing his racquet during a doubles match at Wimbledon 2015 only to have it bounce into the stands and hit a fan. 
  • Exchanging words with a fan who told him to “pull your head in.” 
  • Giving up on a match with Richard Gasquet at Wimbledon 2015 after several calls were made in his opponent’s favor. 
  • He once claimed he was more interested in Pokemon Go than tennis. 
  • Breaking three racquets at the Cincinnati Masters in 2016.

After injuring himself during a 2016 US Open match, Kyrgios complained about not being able to move. Tennis legend and analyst John McEnroe was unimpressed: 

“Nick Kyrgios, if you don’t want to be a professional tennis player, do something else. He’s hurt because he’s not training enough.”

Clearly, Kyrgios is no stranger to being involved with tense exchanges. 

Nick Kyrgios’ blistering comments about Rafael Nadal

Kyrgios recently appeared on a podcast called “No Challenges Remaining” with sportswriter Ben Rothenberg. He did not hold back when it came to Nadal, who once said Kyrgios was guilty of “lacking respect for the public, the opponent and himself.” Here were just a few of Kyrgios’s rather inflammatory comments: 

  • He referred to Nadal as “super salty” about losing matches as well as only being gracious in victory. 
  • Kyrgios also referred to the celebrations Nadal does after his matches as “cringeworthy.” 

The dispute began, in Kyrgios’s opinion, when Nadal’s uncle called him “uneducated.” Nadal wasn’t Kyrgios’s only target, however. He also called Andy Murray’s record against Novak Djokovic “embarrassing” and called Fernando Verdasco “the most arrogant person ever.” He said Djokovic has a “sick obsession” with being liked, wanting to be as universally beloved as Roger Federer. 

Kyrgios has never been one to shy away from a verbal confrontation, but this latest issue couldn’t have come at a less opportune time as he was set to face off against Nadal at Wimbledon. 

The heated battle between Nadal and Kyrgios

The two didn’t have to wait long to settle their dispute. Nadal and Kyrgios squared off in Wimbledon’s second round in a much-anticipated battle. Nadal came out on top after a grueling four sets.

The two players have met six times before Wimbledon 2019, both winning three. This was their seventh match, splitting the tie.

Rumor has it that Kyrgios prepared for this latest match with a night out at a pub. It’s unclear how much of an impact this had on his performance. We will definitely be on the lookout whenever these two match-up against each other.