Major incidents during Nick Kyrgios and Stefanos Tsitsipas’ conflict-ridden Wimbledon third round – SportsMediaz

Despite all the toxicity, conflict, and drama, Nick Kyrgios produced some top-notch tennis to prevail over fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-7(2), 6-4, 6-3, 7-6(7) in the third round at Wimbledon.

Kyrgios came into the tournament as a dangerous dark horse. The big-serving Aussie’s playing style may not be getting the big results on slower surfaces, but he is always a threat on the grass. And while he produced some of his best tennis over the past few years, his breakthrough win was mired in outbursts, controversies, and salty post-match comments.

Here are some of the major incidents that took the headlines following the encounter:

Kyrgios demands line judge removed after reversed call

Kyrgios began the match in solid fashion. His serve was firing, he was playing quickfire, high-reward tennis, and looked focused through the first set which went on serve for all games. His issues with the umpire, however, spiralled his form.

The 27-year-old was irked by a line judge, who reversed his call mid-point, and his ongoing problems with chair umpire Damien Dumusois– who was tasked with an assignment just as hard as Tsitsipas. He then went on to exchange words with Dumusois on almost every changeover after that, losing focus and eventually dropping the first set on a tiebreaker.

Kyrgios demands match default after Tsitsipas hits ball into crowd

Shortly after dropping the second set, Tsitsipas was clearly disturbed and angry over Kyrgios’ constant bickering with Dumusois, which caused plenty of disruption in the second. In frustration, in a move he himself apologised for later, he dangerously hit a ball into the crowd just under his player’s box. Luckily, it did not strike a fan and he got away with it.

The move did not go down well with Kyrgios, who demanded a match default for his opponent, treating Novak Djokovic’s 2020 US Open default as precedent. His request was denied, following which he refused to get on with the match and demanded to see a supervisor.

Tsitsipas gets point penalty after another wayward strike

Kyrgios’ reaction to Tsitsipas’ outburst caused a long disruption, which seemed to have got under the latter’s skin. Shortly after his opponent’s reaction, 3-1 down in the third, he chased an underarm serve from his opponent and slapped it across the back fence of the No. 1 Court. He received a code violation and point penalty for that, as Kyrgios smirked his way to taking a commanding lead.

Tsitsipas attempts to hit Kyrgios with a forehand

Later in that same set, a clearly disrupted Tsitsipas, while chasing a drop shot from Kyrgios, attempted to a hit a forehand – with all of his venom behind – straight at Kyrgios. He missed, but not by a lot.

In his post-match press conference, while labelling his opponent a “bully,” the Greek revealed that he intentionally attempted to hit him.

Kyrgios gets lucky net cord, bows

Kyrgios is not a player who has classically followed the unsaid rules of sportsmanship in the game, but after he got a lucky net cord while returning his opponent’s serve in the third set, he was quick to apologise. Two points later, however, after a well-timed dropshot got a lucky break at the net, Kyrgios played to the crowd’s raucous applause, even bowing as he was cheered on.

Once the dust settled, it is hard to see Kyrgios’ antics as anything but part of his tactics. All the crazy chaos – which managed to be predictable and farcical at once – played a huge role in disrupting Tsitsipas’ rhythm, giving him a huge psychological edge.

As for the Greek, the match was yet another example of how he is unable to grind out a win when things get uncomfortable, when the battle is a bit conflicting, a bit personal. The 23-year-old has only won 3 out of the 14 matches he has played against Kyrgios and Daniil Medvedev – another player with whom he has started a fiery, at times personal rivalry. For a player with all the evident talent to win on the big stage, that would make for grim reading.

In a fractured quarter – partly due to big pre-tournament favourite Matteo Berrettini’s withdrawal due to COVID – Kyrgios has now emerged the favourite. The chaos he brings with his game – some intentional and some emotional – is a part of his game, but against more seasoned players who can weather the storm, it can cause him to self-implode.

The Aussie has shown he has the game to go deep at SW19, but perhaps he will have to let his game do the talking if he is to achieve that.

Leave a Comment