Australian tennis player Nick Kyrgios has refused to apologize to Rafael Nadal after he purposely took aim at Nadal’s chest during their second-round Wimbledon match on Thursday.
The two men were at odds for much of their match at the All England Club when Kyrgios hit a hard lined ball directly at Nadal’s chest. Nadal was able to use his racket to deflect the shot and then cleaned up with a final score of 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (5) 7-6 (3).
When asked if he purposely took aim at Nadal’s chest, Kyrgios said it was most certainly intentional. When asked if he would apologize the tennis player jumped into a weird diatribe.
“Why would I apologize? I mean, the dude has got how many Slams, how much money in the bank account? I think he can take a ball to the chest, bro. I’m not going to apologize to him at all.”
Nadal played the much bigger man, telling reporters that he was most concerned with the safety of fans and line umpires.
“I don’t say Nick does this stuff to bother the opponent, but [it] is true that sometimes he’s dangerous. When he hit the ball like this, [it] is dangerous,” Nadal said. “[It] is not dangerous for me, [it] is dangerous for a line referee, dangerous for a crowd. When you hit the ball like this, you don’t know where the ball goes.”Nadal continued:
“I know he’s a big, talented player, but I am a professional player, too. I know when you hit this kind of ball, the ball can go anywhere. This time the ball went in, [it] almost hit me, no problem. I am professional, so I know how to avoid this. But another one, the ball goes straight to the back. So have been dangerous moment for the line umpire. That ball hits an eye or something like this, is a problem. That’s it.”
Kyrgios was upset throughout the match because of what he considered Nadal’s slow play on the court. Along with attacking Nadal, he called the umpire a “disgrace” and later “horrendous.”
In the end, Nadal got the last laugh and will face off against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga on Saturday.