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Kyrgios vents over towels, pleads for patience after losing on return

STUTTGART, GERMANY (AFP) – Nick Kyrgios got upset over a lack of white towels and later pleaded for patience following a straight-sets defeat in Stuttgart to Wu Yibing on his return to tennis.

The 25th-ranked Australian, who finished runner-up 11 months ago at Wimbledon to Novak Djokovic, lost 7-5, 6-3 to lower-ranked grass-court debutant Wu on Tuesday.

Kyrgios, playing for the first time since undergoing knee surgery in January, tweeted afterwards: “Be patient with me my fans please. It’s a process to get back to where I was.

“I know it’s hard for you to see me perform like today, but I need more time and hopefully can get back to where I was.”

Kyrgios’ mood turned sour in the first set, with complaints about the colour of the towels, the bounce of the grass court and a shortage of sideline water.

Nick Kyrgios. PHOTO: AP

But it was the coloured sponsor towels on court that got the famously fiery Australian steaming.

“It took me three games to get white towels,” the 28-year-old said after his first-round loss to China’s Wu, who is ranked 64th and won the Dallas title in February.

“They soak up the sweat better. I’m the same at every tourney. They all have white ones in the locker room.

“I’m not asking to move mountains. White towels actually take the sweat off my body – we are professional athletes.”

Kyrgios, whose previous tour-level match was last October in Tokyo, added: “I have to get used to playing in front of the crowd again. Feeling the moments like break points – all that stuff is new to me again.

“I made it through the match with no major pain. I’ve got a lot more work to do, but I’m taking some positive signs from it.”

The loss still featured 15 aces from the big-serving Kyrgios, with the 23-year-old Wu hoping to improve his own serve as he gets more used to grass.

“I’m very happy to have played Nick in the first round, he’s one of the best players on grass,” said the Chinese player, who faces Marton Fucsovics of Hungary next.

“The key for me was to stay cool, stay patient and find a way.

“He has a better serve than me, but I was more patient. I will work to improve my serve.”

Kyrgios is due to compete next week on grass in Halle, Germany, where he lost last year in the semi-finals.

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