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Tsitsipas says Kyrgios has ‘evil side’ after fiery Wimbledon clash

LONDON (AFP) – Stefanos Tsitsipas said Nick Kyrgios has an “evil side” after a stormy clash at Wimbledon on Saturday in which the victorious Australian called for his Greek opponent to be kicked out of the tournament.

The bad-tempered match overshadowed the rest of the action on day six. The mercurial Kyrgios prevailed 6-7 (2/7), 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (9/7) in an incident-packed third-round match on Court One.

The contest descended into mayhem when a frustrated Tsitsipas hit the ball into the crowd after losing the second set.

Kyrgios told the umpire that Tsitsipas should be kicked out of Wimbledon, recalling the incident at the 2020 US Open when Novak Djokovic was defaulted from the tournament after hitting a line judge with a ball.

“You can’t hit a ball into the crowd and hit someone and not get defaulted,” said the 27-year-old, who received an audible obscenity warning during the match.

He kept up his verbal jousting with the umpire, clearly unsettling Tsitsipas, who was warned over the incident and later handed a point penalty for hitting the ball in frustration towards the back of the court.

The bad feeling bubbled up again in post-match press conferences, with fourth seed Tsitsipas saying it felt like a “circus”.

Nick Kyrgios celebrates beating Stefanos Tsitsipas during their men’s singles match of the Wimbledon. PHOTO: AP

“He bullies the opponents,” said the Greek, who admitted trying to hit the ball at Kyrgios.

“He was probably a bully at school himself. I don’t like bullies.

“I don’t like people that put other people down. He has some good traits in his character, as well but… he also has a very evil side to him, which if it’s exposed, it can really do a lot of harm and bad to the people around him.”

Tsitsipas said he wished players could “come together and put a rule in place” to curb Kyrgios’ behaviour.

“There is no other player that does this,” he said. “There is no other player that is so upset and frustrated all the time with something. It triggers it so easy and so fast.”

But Kyrgios laughed off Tsitsipas’s accusations, describing his opponent as “soft”.

“We’re not cut from the same cloth,” he said. “I go up against guys who are true competitors.”

He added, “I’m good in the locker room. I’ve got many friends, just to let you know. I’m actually one of the most liked. I’m set. He’s not liked. Let’s just put that there.”

Earlier, French veteran Alize Cornet took advantage of an error-strewn performance from Polish women’s world number one Swiatek to triumph 6-4, 6-2.

Swiatek never looked comfortable in the third-round tie, losing her serve five times and making 33 unforced errors.