Greek fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas has accused opponent Nick Kyrgios of bullying after their dramatic clash in the third round of Wimbledon on Saturday.
It took more than three hours for Australian Kyrgios to win the match 6-7(2) 6-4 6-3 7-6(7) before the pair carried their feud into the post-match media conferences.
Just days after being fined $10,000 for spitting towards a fan during the first round, Kyrgios was warned for swearing on Saturday.
Tsitsipas was booed by the crowd after losing his temper, breaching the rules twice by smashing the ball away into the crowd.
Some spectators said they enjoyed the “fiery encounter”, but others were disgusted, describing it as a “grudge match” and “embarrassing”.
Speaking after what he described as a Kyrgios circus, Tsitsipas said: “He bullies opponents.
“He was probably a bully at school himself.
“I don’t like bullies.
“I don’t like people that put other people down.
‘He has a very evil side to him’
“He has some good traits in his character as well. But he also has a very evil side to him, which if it’s exposed, it can really do a lot of harm and bad to the people around him.”
Kyrgios said the Greek had “serious issues”, adding: “I don’t know what to say.
“I’m not sure how I bullied him.
“He was the one hitting balls at me, he was the one that hit a spectator, he was the one that smacked it out of the stadium.
‘That’s just soft’
“I did nothing towards Stefanos today that was disrespectful.
“I was not drilling him with balls.
“To come in here and say I bullied him, that’s just soft.
“We’re not cut from the same cloth. I go up against guys who are true competitors.
“I’ve got many friends in the locker room, just to let you know. I’m actually one of the most liked. I’m set.
“He’s not liked. Let’s just put that there.”
‘Maybe he should figure out how to beat me a couple more times first’
Tsitsipas apologised for losing control but said umpires should have come down harder on Kyrgios, even if only for his talking throughout the match.
“I wish we could all come together and put a rule in place. I don’t know. Something about talking. Why would you be talking while you’re playing? It makes no sense,” he said.
“Every single point that I played today I feel like there was something going on on the other side of the net.”
Kyrgios replied by reminding Tsitsipas of his record, saying: “I would be pretty upset if I lost to someone two weeks in a row. Maybe he should figure out how to beat me a couple more times first.”