Nick Kyrgios news: Australian refuses to ‘destroy salty’ rival over ‘absolute knob’ remarks

Shahida Jacobs
Nick Kyrgios does an on-court interview

Nick Kyrgios refused to take the bait when asked about his opponent Michael Venus calling him “an absolute knob” following their quarter-final match at the Australian Open.

Kyrgios and fellow Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis have set the season-opening Grand Slam alight with their wild celebrations and rowdy interactions with the spectators.

Sixth seeds Venus and his partner Tim Putz were on the receiving end earlier this week when the wildcard pair upset them in three sets in the last eight.

After the clash, Venus did not hold back in his criticism of the “circus act”, saying Kyrgios’ maturity level is that of a “10-year-old” while he also described him as “an absolute knob”.

Following the Australian pair’s semi-final win over third seeds Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos on Thursday, Kyrgios was asked about the comments.

“Michael Venus, I’m not going to destroy him in this media conference room right now. But Zeballos and Granollers are singles players. They’ve had great careers. I respect them a lot more than I respect Michael Venus,” he replied.

“I think the balance was there today. The quality of tennis was amazing. I think the festival atmosphere was still there. I think they embraced it. They knew it was an incredible atmosphere.

“Zeballos took a selfie with us before we walked out. That’s how you embrace an atmosphere.

“You’re not losing a match and then getting salty about it afterwards. It’s ridiculous.”

Kyrgios and Kokkinakis were also involved in an altercation on and off the court with Croatian duo Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic earlier in the tournament.

However, Kokkinakis insisted they are not disrespecting their opponents.

“I think for the most part it’s not us trying to disrespect the opponents. It’s us trying to get the crowd going to just increase the atmosphere,” he said.

“Sometimes the opponents take it personally. That’s what happened with the Croatians that we played, the No 1 seeds. That’s obviously Michael took offence to that.

“We’re not doing anything directly to them to try and disrespect. We’re just trying to get the crowd even more hyped, and then some of them take it personally.”