Nick Kyrgios on Rafael Nadal: ‘I don’t really dislike him and there’s a layer of respect’

Tennis News
Nick Kyrgios pointing the finger

Nick Kyrgios has moved to play down talk of a feud with Rafael Nadal, saying he “I don’t really dislike him” and adding “there’s a layer of respect that we both have for each other”.

The duo has never been the best of friends on and off the court and the Australian described Nadal as “super salty” during a controversial interview in March 2019.

They had a few exchanges after that and their encounter at Wimbledon last year was a spicy affair with Kyrgios admitting after the match that he tried to hit Nadal with a forehand.

And they will renew their on-court rivalry at the Australian Open on Monday as they will meet in the fourth round.

“I don’t really know Rafa. I’ve never, like, hung out with him or anything like that. So I don’t really know how he is. I don’t really dislike him. I never said… I mean, I don’t know him at all,” Kyrgios said.

“I don’t really know Rafa. I’ve never, like, hung out with him or anything like that. So I don’t really know how he is. I don’t really dislike him. I never said… I mean, I don’t know him at all,” Kyrgios said.

In the build-up to the match, Nadal described the world No 26 as a “positive player” for the ATP Tour, but admitted “when he’s doing the other stuff, of course, I don’t like it”.

“Last time I played him was at Wimbledon. We had a pretty good match, 7-6 in the fourth set. At the end of the day, we’re two different tennis players. We go about it completely different,” the 24-year-old Kyrgios added.

“After Wimbledon, I lost, I got beaten by the better player. I shook his hand, looked him in the eye, and said, ‘Too good’.

“Regardless, if we don’t like each other or whatever, I think there’s a layer of respect.

“He’s one of the greatest of all time. I also read that he thinks I’m good for the sport.

“There’s a layer of respect that we both have for each other. Doesn’t necessarily mean we like each other, but… we’re going to go out there and give contrasting styles and personalities.”

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