Nick Kyrgios has delivered another bewildering media conference in which he showed tepid support for under siege Aussie Davis Cup captain Lleyton Hewitt while also announcing he is not upset that Bernard Tomic declared he has issues with Hewitt’s captaincy.
Kyrgios suffered his worst ever performance at the Australian Open – eliminated in the first round for the first time in his career in a 6-4 7-6 6-4 scrap with boom-serving Milos Raonic.
Raonic needed just under two hours to wrap up his passage through to a second round match with Stan Wawrinka after proving untouchable on serve. Kyrgios did not get one break point opportunity in the entire contest.
Having been unable to defend his ATP Tour Rankings points from his fourth round appearance at last year’s Open, Kyrgios is expected to slide outside the top 70.
The Canberra native saved his best performance of the night for his media conference where he largely sidestepped prickly questions.
Kyrgios said he hadn’t seen Tomic’s explosive accusations against Hewitt, which included a claim that both Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis do not want to play for the former two-time grand slam champion.
When asked directly if there is a rift between himself and Hewitt, Kyrgios replied: “Not really”.
Q. What did you make of Bernard’s comments last night?
NK: I didn’t see them.
Q. You’re unaware of him saying anything?
NK: (Shaking head negatively.)
Q. Will you play Davis Cup?
Q. Would you make yourself available to play Davis Cup?
NK: Yeah. I don’t think I’d be picked. There’s a lot of good players right now. Obviously De Minaur, Millman, they’re all playing great. There’s a lot of depth, which is pretty good for us.
Q. Is there a rift between you and Lleyton Hewitt?
NK: Not really.
Q. Not really?
NK: Is there an echo in here?
Q. Bernard named you and Kokkinakis as both having told him that you don’t want to play while Lleyton is captain. How do you respond to that?
NK: I don’t know what to say. Like, I don’t have a big deal with anything. I’ve always wanted to play Davis Cup. I love Davis Cup. If I don’t play, I don’t play. Like, I’m available. That’s all I got to say. Like, what do you want from me?
Q. Are you upset that Bernard made those comments last night and mentioned you?
NK: I am not upset.
Q. What is it like being part of a tennis country that always makes this much news for this stuff all the time? Is it fun? Is it exhausting?
NK: I think it’s ridiculous, to be honest. With all the issues that are going on in the world, we’re focusing on someone’s comments about Davis Cup. It’s pretty sad. It’s pretty sad.
Q. Do you support Lleyton as captain going forward?
NK: This bloke does not stop (laughter).
Tomic on Monday night said he has spoken with Kyrgios and Kokkinakis and that both have told him they do not want to play for Australia while Hewitt remains captain.
“It’s all Lleyton,” Tomic said.
“I’m going to say it honestly. Nobody likes him anymore. He’s doing the wrong thing. He’s playing Davis Cup and I thought he’d retired?
“Absolutely. Kokkinakis, Kyrgios, we don’t want to play anymore because he’s ruined the system. I mean, go away. Why are you still in tennis?
“He doesn’t put the players first from what I hear in the past year. He doesn’t put the players first. He doesn’t put Nick first. He doesn’t put Kokkinakis first. He always thinks of himself. It’s not good.”
Hewitt responded to that extraordinary claim by declaring Tomic has thrown both Kyrgios and Kokkinakis under the bus by leaving them to face questions from the media about the rift following their round one matches on Tuesday.
“The disappointing thing that the Aussies men and women had a great day and it was overshadowed by Bernard Tomic,” Hewitt told Channel 9.
“He threw a couple under the bus.
“Those boys (Kyrgios and Kokkinakis) are going on for big matches today … we’ve spoken before the Australian Open and we will continue to speak after the Australian Open leading into the Davis Cup tie.”
Kokkinakis just four days ago described reports he has fallen out with Hewitt as “bulls***”. He then refused to elaborate on his relationship with the Davis Cup captain.
Kyrgios also used his press conference to shower praise on Raonic, declaring he had “never seen serving like that in my life”.
He also refused to blame his knee soreness, despite complaining about the injury repeatedly through his match.
When receiving treatment for a second time in between the second and third sets, Kyrgios told the Tour physiotherapist that his knee felt like “dogs***”.
“It hurts to walk, it hurts to rock on my serve, I’ve just given up basically,” Kyrgios said.
“I’ve taken four tablets and it’s gotten worse. It’s f***ing terrible. By this stage, it’s f***ed. It feels like dogs***, mate. Absolute dogs***.”
He earlier called his knee complaint a “joke”.
“It’s f***ing ridiculous,” Kyrgios said to the trainer.
“I put a bucket load of deep heat on it.
“I don’t know how it can get so painful in the space of three games.
“Honestly bro, I don’t really care. I’m trying my nuts off and then my f***ing knee starts flaring up. At this stage I can’t even rock back on my serve.
“This is a joke, I warmed up. It flared up. I feel good, I was feeling fine. I’ve been doing treatments, extended warm-ups, it’s like nothing is working.”
But after opening his post-match press conference by saying “I don’t think it was at all the reason I lost”, Kyrgios railed when he was hit with a follow-up question.
“I don’t know why we’re talking about it,” he said. “I literally just said it had nothing to do with my loss. Really pointless to keep asking me questions about it.”