Dominic Thiem came from behind to edge Nick Kyrgios in a five-set epic in the Australian Open third round on Friday.

Thiem, last year's runner-up in Melbourne, fought back to win 4-6 4-6 6-3 6-4 6-4 on John Cain Arena.

The Austrian third seed was unable to match Kyrgios' energy levels early on, but the reigning US Open champion responded to reach the fourth round of a major for the 15th time in his career.

Thiem, who will face Grigor Dimitrov in the fourth round, was in impressive form after his slow start, finishing with 57 winners and just 28 unforced errors.

Kyrgios was getting the crowd – full of energy ahead of Victoria going into a five-day lockdown from Saturday due to coronavirus concerns – involved from the warm-up, while Thiem appeared flat.

An underarm ace saw Kyrgios take a two-sets-to-love lead as he looked in control before Thiem responded.

Coming from 15-40 down in the opening game of the third set, Thiem won 20 consecutive points on serve.

Kyrgios steadied and held after a marathon game to begin the fourth set, but he could not deny Thiem – who continued to hold serve comfortably – in the ninth as the Austrian broke with a cross-court forehand pass.

A point penalty for ball abuse appeared to bring Kyrgios to life, but Thiem saved a break point and served out the set.

The crucial and only break of the fifth set came for Thiem in the seventh game after several fine returns and he closed out his victory with a spectacular backhand winner down the line.

Nick Kyrgios has the weapons to overcome the "super physical" Dominic Thiem at the Australian Open on Friday.

The eccentric Australian continued to excite at Melbourne Park with a five-set win over Ugo Humbert in the second round, saving two match points.

Kyrgios, 25, is into the third round of a grand slam for the 15th time in his career, but it has been a difficult hurdle for him to cross. He is 6-8 in the third round of majors, although three of those wins – and just one loss – have come at the Australian Open.

While he has all the weapons, Kyrgios faces third seed Thiem, the US Open champion and last year's runner-up in Melbourne.

"He's probably one of the most physical guys on tour. He's an extremely good player. I have actually seen him progress. He's a bit older than I am. I actually saw him in juniors and then I saw him struggle for a couple years, futures, challies, and then to see him get to the top of the game. It's been actually pretty cool to see him develop and finally find what he needs to do to win matches," Kyrgios said about Thiem after overcoming Humbert.

"He trains like an absolute animal. He's consistent every day. And I actually have a lot of respect for him. I think his style of tennis is not easy to play. He's super physical, but I'm not even thinking about it. Like, I'm just hurting thinking about playing him right now."

He added: "Whatever happens against Thiem happens. I'm going to go out there, serve, play with instinct, and if it's enough, it's enough. If it isn't, I'm all right with that."

With much of the talk at the year's first major focused on the fast courts, Kyrgios' serve will be vital.

The Australian has seen 50 per cent of his first serves in the opening two rounds go unreturned, with 44 aces. He has also served at 72 per cent and won 81 per cent of the points when his first serve has gone in.

Thiem has recorded wins over Mikhail Kukushkin and Dominik Koepfer to begin the tournament, winning 13 of 27 return games. Kyrgios has won eight of 42 return games.

Kyrgios has been among the men more willing to serve and volley to begin the event, playing 26 such points and winning 16. He has also won 39 of 55 net points, while Thiem is an impressive 31 of 36.

Novak Djokovic is among those who have talked about the fast courts at Melbourne Park this year, and the world number one said that would suit the big servers. Thiem said he had never played on courts as fast at a grand slam so far in his career.

"I prefer last year's courts, if I could choose. It's pretty fast, as I said the days before. It's probably one of the fastest grand slam tournaments I've played so far," he said. "Well, we have to get used to it, yes. But if I have to choose, I would choose the last year's condition."

The opportunity is there for the big-hitting Kyrgios, but he will need to be at his best.

Novak Djokovic admitted there was plenty of room for improvement after coming through a "difficult spot" at the Australian Open, where Nick Kyrgios thrilled the crowd with an impressive comeback.

Top seed Djokovic was made to work for his 6-3 6-7 (7-3) 7-6 (7-2) 6-3 triumph against Frances Tiafoe as he reached the third round in Melbourne. 

Kyrgios is also through, albeit he even surprised himself by rallying from the brink of defeat to knock out 29th seed Ugo Humbert in the evening session. 

Stan Wawrinka was on the wrong of an upset on Wednesday, but there were no such problems for fellow seeds Dominic Thiem, Alexander Zverev, Diego Schwartzman and Milos Raonic. 

Meanwhile, Denis Shapovalov and Felix Auger-Aliassime will have to put their friendship to one side when they face each other next, the former setting up the all-Canadian clash by beating Bernard Tomic in three sets.


'PASSIVE' DJOKOVIC STILL MAKING PROGRESS

In the first meeting between the pair, the impressive Tiafoe went toe-to-toe with Djokovic on Rod Laver Arena.  

The 23-year-old American's performance – coupled with the Melbourne heat – made the eight-time Australian Open champion sweat, albeit Djokovic felt he could have made life easier for himself.

"I was at times not feeling my timing as well as I normally am. Credit to him. I think he has managed to come out with a great performance and quality of tennis. He put me in a difficult spot," he said. 

"I had my chances early in the second set. If I broke him there, maybe the course of the match would be different.   

"But again, he was holding his serve very well. I was not really using my break-point chances very well. At times I was too passive. Just wasn't feeling the ball today as well as I normally do." 

Next up for Djokovic is another player from the United States in the form of Taylor Fritz, who ousted compatriot Reilly Opelka in a five-set battle.


IN THE NICK OF TIME

Kyrgios described his clash with Humbert as "one of the craziest matches I've ever played" after prevailing 5-7 6-4 3-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 - much to the delight of an enthralled audience who watched the drama unfold on John Cain Arena.

The Australian smashed a racket, lost his cool with umpire Marijana Veljovic over a faulty net cord sensor and had to save a pair of match points before eventually coming out on top in a see-saw battle.

"I just remember, down that end, when I was a couple of match points down, I don't know what was going on," Kyrgios - who dropped to his knees after sealing victory - said in his on-court interview.

"If you were inside my head, there were some dark thoughts in there. But I live to fight another day and hopefully I can continue to play good tennis in front of you guys."

His reward is a clash with Thiem, the third seed having dismissed the challenge of German Dominik Koepfer in straight sets as he dropped just six games.


STAN-D AND DELIVER

Wawrinka appeared on course to survive a serious scare when he rallied from two sets down against Marton Fucsovics, but the Swiss was unable to seize on the chances that came his way in a tense tie-break. 

Fucsovics had needed over four hours to overcome wild card Marc Polmans in the previous round and, once again, found a way to get over the finishing line at the end of a Melbourne marathon. 

The Hungarian trailed 6-1 during the decisive breaker, yet hit back to stun the 17th seed 7-5 6-1 4-6 2-6 7-6 (11-9). For Wawrinka, there was frustration at the missed opportunities, albeit he also praised his conqueror. 
  
"From 6-1 up, I started to hesitate a little bit in the way I was playing," he said. "I wanted to put the ball maybe too much in and I [was] not going completely for my shots and that's when I started to miss a little bit and it helped him to come back in the match.  

"He was fighting well, he's a tough player, he's a good player and he deserved to win." 

The war of words between Novak Djokovic and Nick Kyrgios continued on day one of the Australian Open, while Gael Monfils was reduced to tears after a first-round exit.

Reigning champion Djokovic cruised past Jeremy Chardy 6-3 6-1 6-2 in just over an hour and a half but was unwilling to be drawn on comments made by Kyrgios following the home favourite's 6-4 6-4 6-4 success against Frederico Ferreira Silva.

Djokovic, who has now won 15 straight Australian Open matches, will take on Frances Tiafoe next and Kyrgios has a meeting with Ugo Humbert. A potential crossing of their paths on court could not happen until the semi-finals.

Monfils, seeded 10th at Melbourne Park, could not hide his emotions after succumbing to a 3-6 6-4 7-5 3-6 6-3 defeat in a five-set thriller against Emil Ruusuvuori.

Benoit Paire was the only other seed to go out on day one, with Dominic Thiem, Alexander Zverev, Diego Schwartzman and Stan Wawrinka picking up victories.

 

"HE'S A STRANGE CAT"

On the eve of the first grand slam of the year Djokovic said he had "no respect" for Kyrgios off the court, which the Australian was confused by as he pointed out the charitable work he has done during the coronavirus pandemic.

Kyrgios was previously critical of the Adria Tour organised by Djokovic last year, which ended with multiple players testing positive for COVID-19.

Asked about the Serbian's pre-tournament comment, Kyrgios said: "It actually would make complete sense to me if he was like, 'Look, I don't respect the guy on the court.' Because I understand if he doesn't agree with some of my antics on the court that I have done in the past.

"He's a very strange cat, Novak is. Heck of a tennis player, but unfortunately someone that's partying with his shirt off during a global pandemic, I don't know if I can take any slack from that man. That's as bad as it gets for me."

When a reporter asked if they could read those comments out to Djokovic in his post-match news conference, the 17-time major champion replied: "You can read it, but I'm not gonna answer to anything."

Upon hearing the remarks and being asked if he had a reply, Djokovic simply said: "No."

 

ANOTHER LOSS FOR MONFILS

Having lost his first-round match to Ruusuvuori, who incredibly saved 17 break points, Monfils remained without a win on the ATP Tour since February 2020.

The Frenchman was eliminated in the first round at Melbourne Park for the first time since 2006 and admitted he had lost all his self-belief and was finding it extremely difficult to get himself back on track.

"I don't have any confidence. I would like to get out of this nightmare but I can't," said Monfils.

"I don’t know when it's going to end. It's hard. Every time I get here I feel judged, I've lost again. I can't serve, I'm playing badly. I'm being honest and it's going to take time."

 

BEST OF THE REST

Thiem made light work of Mikhail Kukushkin 7-6 (7-2) 6-2 6-3 to set up a second-round meeting with Dominik Koepfer, but Zverev had to come from a set down to beat Marcos Giron 6-7 (8-10), 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 6-2. He will face Maxime Cressy next.

Denis Shapovalov also had to fight back to defeat Jannik Sinner, who reached the French Open quarter-finals last year, in an entertaining five-setter on Margaret Court Arena.

Marin Cilic, the runner-up at Melbourne Park in 2018, went down 6-4 6-2 7-6 (7-5) to Grigor Dimitrov, while Pablo Carreno Busta overcame Kei Nishikori 7-5 7-6 (7-4) 6-2.

There were straight-set wins for Stan Wawrinka, Milos Raonic and Felix Auger-Aliassime against Paulo Sousa, Federico Coria and Cedrik-Marcel Stebe respectively, and Schwartzman defeated Elias Ymer 7-6 (7-3) 6-4 2-6 6-2.

World number one Novak Djokovic said he does not have "much respect" for outspoken Australian star Nick Kyrgios away from the tennis court.

Kyrgios has been critical of Djokovic in an ongoing feud with the 17-time grand slam champion, who was labelled a "tool" by the former following a list of requests made to Tennis Australia (TA) and the Victorian government for tennis players stuck in hotel quarantine amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Former world number 13 Kyrgios was also critical of Djokovic's decision to stage the Adria Tour in Europe last August – in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis – having previously dubbed the Serb star "cringeworthy".

Djokovic rekindled his rivalry with Kyrgios after being asked about the 25-year-old on the eve of the Australian Open.

"I've said this before," Djokovic told reporters on Sunday. "I think he's good for the sport. Obviously he's someone that is different. He goes about his tennis, he goes about his off court things in his own authentic way. 

"I have respect for him. I have respect for everyone else really because everyone has a right and freedom to choose how they want to express themselves, what they want to do. My respect goes to him for the tennis he's playing. I think he's very talented guy. He's got a big game. He has proven that he has a quality to beat any player really in the world in the past.

"Off the court, I don't have much respect for him, to be honest. That's where I'll close it. I really don't have any further comments for him, his own comments for me or anything else he's trying to do."

Djokovic has won the past two Australian Open finals as he eyes a record-extending ninth Melbourne Park crown.

The 33-year-old, who opens his title defence against Jeremy Chardy on Monday, has won the Australian Open every time he has reached the semi-finals.

Djokovic has reached at least the semi-finals in seven of his last nine grand slam tournaments, winning five of them.

No male has won more Australian Open men's singles titles than Djokovic, who said: "It's a love affair. Probably something similar maybe not like Rafa [Nadal] has with the French Open, but I've been feeling more comfortable on the court each year that I've been coming back. 

"The more you win, obviously the more confidence you have and the more pleasant you feel on the court. It just feels right. If you're in the right state of mind, regardless of the surface, you have a better chance to play at your best.

"When I stepped on the court this year for the first time in the practice session, I relived some of the memories from last year, also the other years that I won the tournament here.

"It just gives me great sensation, great feeling, confidence. It feels right. It feels like the place where I should be and where I have historically always been able to perform my best tennis. Hopefully can be another successful year."

Asked if he still feels nerves, Djokovic – who is looking to close the gap on Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer (both 20) for the most slam trophies – added: "Every match, every match. Every single match. I don't want to speak on behalf of the other athletes, but I just feel like it's almost impossible to eliminate that kind of pressure, anticipation, the nerves coming into any match really for an athlete. At least in my case.

"It's just that I managed over the years to train myself, I think with the experience and with also the dedication that I had off the court to the mental preparation, that helped me react better to those kind of emotions. Sometimes I don't manage to overcome the pressures and the stress and nerves. Sometimes I do. It really just depends. Even though I've been blessed to experience a lot of success, especially here in Australia, but also in my career. I still feel that those failures, if you want to call them that way, even though I don't believe in failures, I just believe in opportunities to improve, kind of the lessons to be learned, but in those matches you lose, big matches, that's where you learn the most.

"That's where you're facing the kind of wall mentally. You're upset. You have a lot of different things happening, and you feel like you let yourself down. That's where it's the biggest opportunity for you to really address that and become stronger, more capable. You can get to know yourself a little bit on deeper levels. It still happens to me.

"Every single tournament, regardless of my previous success, of course I do feel that I have more confidence, more experience, maybe more training in understanding how to deal with these specific situations when I'm coming on the big court, being expected to win 99 per cent of the matches that I play.

"But it's still there. It's still there. I don't think it's ever going to go away. Especially when the occasion is big, when you're playing for the biggest trophies."

Novak Djokovic continued his perfect record at the ATP Cup to help Serbia beat Canada in their opening tie.

The world number one won all eight of his rubbers in the 2020 tournament and made a fine start to this event by battling to a 7-5 7-5 win over Denis Shapovalov in Melbourne.

Milos Raonic had earlier put Canada in front when he beat Dusan Lajovic 6-3 6-4, meaning Djokovic had to return for a decisive doubles clash alongside Filip Krajinovic. 

The Serbians prevailed, winning 7-5 7-6 (7-4) against Shapovalov and Raonic.

"Filip Krajinovic was the key," Djokovic said after the doubles triumph extended his undefeated run to 10. 

"The way he played is phenomenal. He came out with very solid returning. He found his serve, great rhythm. He just played some really key shots in the second set when we needed it the most."

Of his singles win, Djokovic added: "It was a very close match. Playing Shapo is always a great challenge on hard courts. 

"He's such a dynamic, explosive player; very talented. I thought we played on a very high level, so I'm really pleased with how I've started the season.

"This is the best way to kickstart the season, playing for your country.

"We don't get to see crowds in the tennis stadiums these days so much, so it's definitely a blessing. I'm really grateful to see you guys here in the stands."

SPAIN WIN WITHOUT NADAL

Defending champions Spain were without Rafael Nadal for their tie against Australia, but they still prevailed.

Pablo Carreno Busta had few problems seeing off John Millman 6-2 6-4.

And Roberto Bautista Agut ensured the tie was won before the doubles by emerging triumphant in an entertaining encounter with Alex de Minaur, which the Spaniard won 4-6 6-4 6-4.

Nadal, who is battling a back problem, hopes to return on Thursday when Spain take on Greece.

Elsewhere, Austria fell to a 2-1 loss against Italy, as US Open champion Dominic Thiem struggled.

After team-mate Dennis Novak had superbly beaten Fabio Fognini, world number three Thiem fell to a surprise 6-2 6-4 loss against Matteo Berrettini, with Austria going on to lose the decisive doubles.

Andrey Rublev and Daniil Medvedev beat Guido Pella and Diego Schwartzman respectively as Russia produced an impressive performance to beat Argentina.

Elsewhere, at the Murray River Open, Nick Kyrgios made a winning start to his comeback after a year out of action.

He did not have it easy against the unheralded Frenchman Alexandre Muller, but salvaged a 3-6 6-4 7-6 (7-4) victory to book a second-round meeting with fellow Australian Harry Bourchier.

Nick Kyrgios has labelled Novak Djokovic "a tool" after the world number one reportedly issued a list of demands for players under strict quarantine conditions ahead of the Australian Open.

Defending women's singles champion Sofia Kenin is among 72 players who are consigned to their hotel rooms due to positive coronavirus tests on flights they took to head out for the first grand slam of the year.

Players have posted social media clips of them training and in their rooms, with some complaining about the conditions they are having to contend with for 14 days.

Bernard Tomic's girlfriend, Vanessa Sierra, expressed her grievances over the standard of food and having to wash her own hair and dishes during her period of quarantine with the world number 228 so far.

Djokovic does not have to adhere to such strict rules in Adelaide, where he is due to play in an exhibition tournament before the Melbourne major, as he arrived on a virus-free flight.

Yet the 17-time grand slam champion is said to have asked for less time in isolation for players, requested they are given private housing with access to training courts, and better food.

Kyrgios tweeted on Monday: "Djokovic is a tool. I don't mind Bernie [Tomic] but his Mrs obviously has no perspective, ridiculous scenes Man."

Three weeks before the Australian Open is due to get underway, Victorian premier Daniel Andrews said the players will not be getting any "special treatment."

He said: "The virus doesn't treat you specially, so neither do we.

"I know there's been a bit of chatter from a number of players about the rules.

"The rules apply to them as they apply to everybody else and they were all briefed on that before they came and that was the condition on which they came. So, there's no special treatment here."

Nick Kyrgios reckons he would have been slapped with a lengthy ban if he had struck a linesperson, as Novak Djokovic did at the US Open.

World number one Djokovic was stunningly disqualified after hitting the official with a ball during his last-16 clash with Pablo Carreno Busta.

It was not intentional, but nonetheless the Serbian's careless act saw him kicked out of the tournament he was favourite to win.

There is no love lost between Kyrgios, who has endured his own disciplinary issues, and Djokovic, with the Australian claiming he would suffer a far worse punishment.

He tweeted: "Swap me for jokers incident. 'Accidentally hitting the ball kid in the throat' how many years would I be banned for?"

Underneath was a list of three answers, offering followers to choose the length of his hypothetical ban in years.

Of the available options – five, 10 and 20 years – the latter was the most popular, with more than half of the almost 160,000 votes cast.

Kyrgios has been critical of Djokovic's approach to the coronavirus crisis, with the 17-time grand slam winner having organised an exhibition tour at which several players contracted COVID-19.

In May last year, Kyrgios was himself defaulted from a match after reacting badly to receiving a game penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct in a second-round clash with Casper Ruud at the Italian Open.

Kyrgios kicked out in disgust and launched a chair before walking off as he was disqualified by the umpire.

Djokovic did not partake in any media activities after his moment of madness, but he did post a message on Instagram.

"This whole situation has left me really sad and empty," he said.

"I checked on the line person and the tournament told me that thank God she is feeling ok. I'm extremely sorry to have caused her such stress. So unintended. So wrong. I'm not disclosing her name to respect her privacy.

"As for the disqualification, I need to go back within and work on my disappointment and turn this all into a lesson for my growth and evolution as a player and human being.

"I apologise to the @usopen tournament and everyone associated for my behaviour. I'm very grateful to my team and family for being my rock support, and my fans for always being there with me. Thank you and I'm so sorry."

Djokovic's exit means there will be a first-time major winner in the men's draw in New York.

Tennis had a rotten lockdown but now the professional tours are emerging from hibernation. 

The men must wait a fortnight, but in Sicily a number of leading women will, from Monday, take part in the Palermo Open, a minor clay-court event that will face scrutiny like it has never known before. 

Tennis must prove it can stage events responsibly, not least because the sport's reputation took a hit with the calamitous ad hoc Adria Tour. That event saw stars including men's world number one Novak Djokovic, whose brainchild it was, and Grigor Dimitrov hit by coronavirus. 

The ATP and the WTA, governing bodies of the men's and women's tours respectively, will apply stringent rules and demand impeccable player compliance over the coming months. 

They have already seen tennis wiped out in China for the rest of the year, on top of Wimbledon's cancellation, and can ill afford any further momentous setbacks. 

At the end of August, the US Open is due to begin at Flushing Meadows, a behind-closed-doors grand slam.

But with a number of leading players already opting out or showing reluctance to travel during the pandemic period, it would be easier to return a barrage of John Isner serves than to accurately figure how the rest of the tennis year pans out. 

Sicily for starters

Palermo organisers expected Simona Halep, the world number two and reigning Wimbledon champion, to join them, and it was with "great bitterness" that they acknowledged the news she would be staying at home in Romania. 

Halep cited rising COVID-19 cases in her home country and her own "anxieties around international air travel". 

Jelena Ostapenko, Johanna Konta and Svetlana Kuznetsova were among others to pull out, with a number of factors behind the loss of a host of the event's star attractions. 

Arguably, though, the standard of the tennis in the week ahead will pale into insignificance against the success of the tournament from a health and safety perspective. 

One player tested positive for coronavirus after arriving in Palermo, organisers said on Saturday, and was kept away from all others, withdrawing from the tournament. 

The eyes of the tennis world will focus on the modest ASD Country Time Club, not least because a small number of tennis fans will also be allowed entry. 

American trilogy

Can the United States, where over 150,000 have died with coronavirus, provide safe haven for the biggest stars in tennis later this month? 

Authorities are optimistic ahead of a disrupted US hard-court swing getting under way, but there can be no guarantees, despite best efforts. There are three major tournaments in the US in August, each brimming with the biggest names in the game. 

A new WTA event in Kentucky was announced in mid-July, and starts on August 10, with a field boasting Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Sloane Stephens and Coco Gauff.  

From Kentucky, the best women's players in the world will head to New York for the Western and Southern Open, relocated to Flushing Meadows from Cincinnati this year in a move to save the tournament. 

That event, scheduled to run from August 21 to 28, is where the elite men make their re-entrance, with no ATP events scheduled until then. 

And the following week sees the US Open get under way at the same venue - all being well. 

Players will be expected to keep to their tournament bubbles throughout, tests will be carried out and players closely monitored. Any slip-ups could spell peril. 

Who's coming back? Who's not?

Halep is skipping Palermo and as of Sunday, August 2, she was not listed for the Western and Southern Open; however, she may play an event in Prague, starting on August 10. 

Given Halep's clear travel concerns, it would be little surprise were she to skip the US Open, which is a decision world number one Ash Barty has already taken. Barty's fellow Australian, Nick Kyrgios, has also chosen not to travel to the United States. 

Great Britain's Andy Murray, who appears keen to head to the States, has suggested a number of leading male players will swerve the US tournaments, yet the likes of Rafael Nadal, Djokovic and Dominic Thiem have entered the Western and Southern Open. 

Any of those players could still pull out, Nadal having notably expressed misgivings about international travel during lockdown. 

But will the temptation to go after another grand slam title at the US Open prove too alluring? Nadal is just one behind Roger Federer's record haul of 20 men's singles slams, with Djokovic having 17 majors to his name. 

Federer is sitting out all this drama, having undergone season-ending knee surgery. 

It comes as no surprise to see Serena Williams, one short of Margaret Court's women's record of 24 singles slams, committing fully to the weeks ahead. 

With no Barty and perhaps no Halep, Williams, who turns 39 next month, may perhaps never have a better opportunity to draw level with Court.

Australian star Nick Kyrgios has withdrawn from the upcoming US Open amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The US Open is schedule to start on August 31 in New York, however, Kyrgios will not feature at Flushing Meadows out of respect for his fellow Australians and the Americans who have died from COVID-19.

Kyrgios has been outspoken during the ATP Tour's lockdown, hitting out at Novak Djokovic's Adria Tour – an exhibition event in June which saw the Serbian star, Grigor Dimitrov, Borna Coric and Viktor Troicki test positive for coronavirus.

"Let's take a breath here and remember what's important, which is health and safety as a community. We can re-build our sport and the economy but we can never recover lives lost," Kyrgios said in a video published by Uninterrupted, following WTA number one and countrywoman Ashleigh Barty in sitting out the grand slam.

"I have got no problem with the USTA putting on the US Open and if players want to go, that's up to them, so long as everyone acts appropriately and acts safely. No-one wants people to keep their jobs more than me. I am speaking for the guy who works in the restaurants, the cleaners and the locker room attendants. These are the people who need their jobs back the most and fair play to them.

"But tennis players - we have to act in the interests of each other and work together.

"You can't be dancing on tables, money-grabbing your way around Europe or trying to make a quick buck, hosting an exhibition. That's just so selfish. Think of the other people for once. That's what this virus is about,

"It doesn't care about your world ranking or how much money you have. Act responsibly.

"To those players who have been observing the rules and acting selflessly, I say good luck to you. Play at your own risk, and I have no problem with that.

"I will not be playing this year at the US Open. It hurts me at my core not to be out there competing in one of the sport's greatest arenas Arthur Ashe Stadium.

"But I'm sitting out for the people, for my Aussies, for the hundreds of thousands of Americans who have lost their lives, for all of you. It is my decision, like it or not. And those are my reasons."

Nick Kyrgios took a swipe at Borna Coric after the Croatian said he does not care about the Australian's criticism of Novak Djokovic's Adria Tour.

World number one Djokovic, Coric, Grigor Dimitrov and Viktor Troicki all tested positive for coronavirus at the exhibition event as social-distancing guidelines were ignored.

Alexander Zverev, who also featured, came under fire after he was apparently spotted partying despite saying he would quarantine for two weeks.

The outspoken Kyrgios criticised those who played at the event and branded Zverev "selfish".

Coric responded, telling Croatia's Jutarnji List newspaper: "I read what he wrote, but I simply don't care because he likes to be a general after a battle.

"If someone else was teaching lessons I would have understood, but Kyrgios...it's somehow not realistic.

"I agree that was not good, Zverev acted badly but I don't see the need to criticise fellow players in such a way. I wouldn't do it, but again, it's Kyrgios."

Kyrgios slammed the comments and said Coric's "intellectual level" is zero.

"You should care. Do you have rocks in your head?" Kyrgios, who added a donut emoji at the end of his post, wrote on Twitter.

"Again, you can stand up for your mates, I'm just trying to hold them accountable. When I said what I said, I didn't intend to bother.

"They are tennis players, they aren't special. Just as I thought, Coric intellectual level = 0."

Nick Kyrgios has hit back at Boris Becker after the German legend branded him a "rat" over his public criticism of Alexander Zverev.

World number seven Zverev was labelled as "selfish" by Kyrgios after he was apparently spotted partying despite vowing to self-isolate.

Zverev took part in the Adria Tour where several players, including world number one Novak Djokovic, tested positive for coronavirus and, although he returned a negative result himself, promised to isolate, with guidelines recommending 14 days.

Becker, a winner of six grand slams, called out Kyrgios' public criticism, leading to the duo exchanging a few virtual volleys on Twitter.

"We all live in the pandemic called #Covid_19 ! It's terrible and it killed to many lives...we should protect our families/loved ones and follow the guidelines but still don't like #rats @NickKyrgios," Becker wrote on Twitter.

Kyrgios defended himself, writing: "Rats? For holding someone accountable? Strange way to think of it champion, I'm just looking out for people. WHEN my family and families all over the world have respectfully done the right thing. And you have a goose waving his arms around, imma say something."

The argument was not done there, though, with Becker once again repeating his earlier insult.

"Don't like no #rats ! Anybody telling off fellow sportsman/woman is no friend of mine! Look yourself in the mirror and think your better than us...@NickKyrgios."

To which Kyrgios responded: "For goodness sake Boris, I'm not competing or trying to throw anyone under the bus. It's a global pandemic and if someone is as idiotic as Alex to do what he has done, I'll call him out for it. Simple."

The back-and-forth exchange did not end there, with Kyrgios saying Becker is a "bigger doughnut than I thought" and he "can hit a volley, obviously not the sharpest tool in the shed though".

Becker continued the argument, with the retort: "Your [sic] funny guy ....how is it down under? Respect all the guidelines?" before somewhat bizarrely attempting to change tact.

"I really would like to see @NickKyrgios fulfil his potential and win a grand slam! He would be an incredible role model for the youth of the world addressing the issues of equality/race/heritage! Man up buddy and deliver!" Becker commented.

Kyrgios, though, was in little mood to change the topic of discussion.

"Why are you now talking about tennis? It has nothing to do with tennis? How about the dude who you are defending mans up and gives us some sort of explanation? Not another average management apology," he wrote.

Nick Kyrgios hit out at Alexander Zverev for being "selfish" after apparently being spotted partying despite vowing to self-isolate.

Zverev, the world number seven, played at the Adria Tour, where Novak Djokovic was among several players to test positive for coronavirus, as social-distancing guidelines were ignored earlier this month.

In a statement released on Twitter on June 22, Zverev said he tested negative for COVID-19 but would follow self-isolation rules, with 14 days usually recommended.

But the German was reportedly spotted partying and Kyrgios blasted the 23-year-old.

"So I wake up and I see more controversial things happening all over the world," Kyrgios said in an Instagram video.

"But one just stuck out for me was seeing 'Sascha' Zverev again, man, again, again, how selfish can you be? How selfish can you be?

"I mean if you have the audacity to f****** put out a tweet that you made your management write on your behalf saying you're going to self-isolate for 14 days and apologising to the f****** general public for putting their health at risk, at least have the audacity to stay inside for 14 days, my God.

"Have your girlfriend with you for f****** 14 days, Jesus man. Pissing me off, this tennis world is pissing me off, seriously, how selfish can you all get?"

The ATP Tour season is scheduled to restart in August, having been suspended in March due to COVID-19.

There have been more than 10.2 million confirmed cases of coronavirus worldwide, with the death toll exceeding 504,000.

Nick Kyrgios aimed further criticism at Novak Djokovic and those who participated in the Adria Tour after it was revealed the world number one had tested positive for coronavirus.

Djokovic and his wife Jelena returned positive tests in Belgrade and must isolate for 14 days.

The 33-year-old was a driving force behind the creation of the Adria Tour, which took place in Serbia and Croatia in front of large crowds and saw players shaking hands despite concerns over social distancing. 

The final between Djokovic and Andrey Rublev was cancelled when Grigor Dimitrov tested positive for COVID-19.

Borna Coric and Viktor Troicki, who both competed in the tournament, have also contracted the virus.

Kyrgios labelled the decision to go ahead with the tour as "boneheaded" following Coric's announcement of a positive test on Monday.

And, responding to a video showing Djokovic and others at the tournament partying shirtless together, Kyrgios directed further criticism at the 17-time grand slam champion.

He posted on Twitter: "Prayers up to all the players that have contracted Covid - 19. Don't @ me for anything I've done that has been 'irresponsible' or classified as 'stupidity' - this takes the cake."

 

Page 1 of 3
© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.