Nick Kyrgios stands up for Novak Djokovic in Bryan Shelton row

James Richardson
Novak Djokovic and Nick Kyrgios pre-match
Novak Djokovic and Nick Kyrgios bromance

Nick Kyrgios feels that the reaction to Novak Djokovic seemingly mocking Ben Shelton after defeating the American youngster in the US Open semi-finals has been out of all proportion.

Kyrgios suggested that athletes are held to a ridiculously high standard of behaviour.

The Australian argues that as human beings in a competitive environment, sometimes that sort of thing is going to happen.

Kyrgios questioned why the celebration was the focus of everyone’s attention instead of the match that was played.

Shelton’s father Bryan told GQ Sports: “He wants to be loved so much, Novak. He wanted to mock Ben at the end. It wasn’t something he was doing just to copy Ben.

“It was to mock him. And that’s too bad, for that to come from such a great champion.”

Responding to those quotes in particular, Kyrgios wrote on X: “So what, Sport is entertainment. We are not robots.

“More people spoke about the celebration than the match.”

Kyrgios is open about the impact that the pressure of playing professional tennis has had on his mental health.

He has frequently stood up for fellow players who have been accused of bad behaviour.

Of his struggles, Kyrgios said: “I was abusing alcohol a lot, drugs, and that spiralled out of control. Now, I barely drink, I literally have a glass of wine at dinner.

“That was the initial kind of thing I had to clean up a little bit and then build my relationship back with my family and get into healthier habits like the basics — like diet, getting good sleep, trying to train a little bit more and that was it.”

The divisive Australian firebrand has used his platform and experiences to push for a kinder world, and isn’t afraid to call out things he feels are wrong.

“I deal with it all the time,” he told Wide World of Sports in 2022.

“People just think raising the finger, abusing someone or making racist comments is acceptable in this day and age, and I just don’t think that’s acceptable at all.”

Kyrgios opened up about his struggles in a Guardian interview in February 2022.

“I know that day to day life can seem extremely exhausting, impossible at times,” Kyrgios said.

“I understand that you feel if you open up it may make you feel weak, or scared. I’m telling you right now, it’s OK, you are not alone.

“I’ve been through those times when it seemed as if those positive energetic vibes were never ever going to be reality.”

READ MORE: Ben Shelton’s father hits back at Novak Djokovic over ‘mocking’ US Open celebration