Former world No1 Boris Becker has waded into a war of words with Nick Kyrgios after the Australian criticised members of the ATP tour for their behaviour in recent weeks as relates to the coronavirus pandemic.
Kyrgios condemned fellow player Alexander Zverev as “selfish” on Sunday after the German world No 7 was filmed flouting self-imposed social distancing measures at a party in Monte Carlo, Monaco. Zverev was one of the players to feature at Novak Djokovic’s Adria Tour exhibition event earlier this month, where seven people tested positive for coronavirus, including Djokovic and three other players.
Players were photographed playing basketball and attended a nightclub in Croatia, leading Krygios to call the event “boneheaded”. Following the tournament, Zverev released a statement “deeply apologising” to anyone put at risk and pledged to self-isolate for 14 days. However, in a since-deleted video posted on Instagram by German fashion designer Philipp Plein, Zverev was seen dancing at a club in Monaco.
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“How selfish can you be?” Kyrgios asked. “If you have the audacity to 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 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 14 days. Jesus, man, this tennis world is p****** me off. How selfish can you all get?”
Zverev’s compatriot Becker, who used to coach Djokovic, took to Twitter on Tuesday to call out Kygrios, repeatedly labelling the Australian a “rat”.
“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,” the 52-year-old wrote.
“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.”
Kyrgios replied: “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.
“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.”
World No40 Kyrgios also called Becker a “doughnut”, leading the former Wimbledon champion to say: “Your funny guy ….how is it down under? Respect all the guidelines?
“There is an unspoken understanding between athletes! Whatever happens on the court stays there including the lockers! Nobody will talk about it.
“I really would like to see @NickKyrgios fulfill his potential and win a grandslam! He would be an incredible role model for for the youth of the world addressing the issues of equality/race/heritage! Man up buddy and deliver.”
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