Nick Kyrgios on his awkward first dinner with John McEnroe and how it feels to be booed

John McEnroe and Nick Kyrgios do a post-match interview

Nick Kyrgios has barely hit a ball in anger in 2023, but he is still one of the most compelling figures in tennis.

After an impressive debut as an analyst on the Tennis Channel during the ATP Finals last month, Kyrgios appears to have a future in the game as a pundit if he fails to make a successful return from his injury woes.

Now the 2022 Wimbledon finalist has created headlines once again after giving an extended interview to Piers Morgan, as he opened up on how it has felt like to be cast as the bad boy of tennis.

Morgan informed Kyrgios is the most fined played in the history of the ATP Tour, with the figure of £452,000 in fines highlighting why he is seen as one of the persistent offenders in the men’s game.

Yet Kyrgios was engaging in his chat with Morgan, as he argued he could be seen as the most generous player in tennis history, with all his fine money going to charity.

It was one of numerous engaging moments between the duo, with their chat attracting huge numbers on YouTube since it was uploaded on Friday.

When asked how he felt about being the most controversial man in tennis for much of his career, Kyrgios suggested it was a role he enjoyed, even if it did come with some additional challenges.

“You feel like the bad guy in a movie, you feel like the main villain and I love it,” said Kyrgios When I go out to stadiums around the world now, it’s like people are cheering, people are going crazy, people wanting to see the Kyrgios show.

“But back in the day, when I used to show up to places, people just used to hate seeing my presence around the courts.

“They would boo my practices. It was just a riot and something just drove me to, it was just addictive.

“So it was a good feeling, but I think being appreciated and being supported, it’s definitely, I think healthier, but the villain was good for a little bit.

“I’m not going to say I don’t have some regrets about my actions on court. When I look back on some of the replays, they don’t look good.

“Sometimes I do cross the line, but you look at other sports, trash talking is normal. These behaviours are quite as repulsive. Because it is tennis, it’s all very traditional.

“You are talking to someone who loves NBA (US basketball) and loves the culture and the trash talk, but I’ve realised as I get older that millions of kids are watching me and I have to set an example.”

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Morgan compared Kyrgios to fellow tennis bad boy John McEnroe, who was also a rebel during his days at the top of the game.

And he revealed that when he first spent time with McEnroe as he was part of the Team World that was captained by McEnroe at the Laver Cup, their initial meeting was a story of two men finding common ground.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been defaulted from a match,” he said referring to McEnroe.

“He broke all his rackets and had no rackets to play with (during a match) and had to get defaulted. So I don’t think I’ve ever done that. I’ve walked off the court.

“When me and Jonny Mac first met at Laver Cup, he was Team World captain and I was like Team World’s camaraderie captain in that sense.

“We didn’t know how it would be, but we sat down and had dinner together and realised we are pretty similar. We are just trying to be ourselves.

“We are just trying to be original and authentic. He was surprised that I was intellectually switched on, so he doesn’t try to give me advice. He knows I am pretty switched on.”

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