They had fought each other on the pitch for three hours and 17 minutes, but the duel was far from over. Nick Kyrgios was the winner after 6: 7 (2: 7), 6: 4, 6: 3, 7: 6 (9: 7) in the third round of the tennis classic in Wimbledon. Afterwards, however, there was massive criticism of the Australian’s performance.

The defeated Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas sharply condemned the behavior of his opponent on the field. “It’s constant bullying. He bullies his opponents,” he said of his former doubles partner. “He was probably a bully at school. I don’t like tyrants. I don’t like people who put other people down.”

Kyrgios largely rejected the allegations against himself and emphasized misconduct by Tsitsipas. “He was the one who hit balls at me,” said the 27-year-old. “Aside from my back and forth with the referee, I haven’t done anything disrespectful to Stefanos.”

There were warnings on both sides in the sometimes high-class game on Saturday evening in London. The Australian demanded a disqualification from his opponent when he hit a ball on the stands. “That was really bad of me,” said Tsitsipas self-critically. “I apologized to the people. I don’t know what went through my head.”

For a similar action, Novak Djokovic was banned from the tournament at the US Open 2020. However, he did not fire a ball at the spectator stands, but at a line judge, whom he unluckily and unintentionally hit in the neck. At the time, the supervisor of the game discussed with the culprit – and excluded him from the Grand Slam tournament.

In the Wimbledon game, Kyrgios now called for a similarly tough approach by the referees against Tsitsipas, but he got away with a warning. Kyrgios also messed with the referees several times, asked referee Damien Dumusois “Are you stupid?”, used swear words and also mobbed his own team in the stands.

Tsitsipas aimed several balls directly at his opponent’s body. Not exactly the fine English way either. Afterwards, however, he advised his opponent to seek psychological help. “That has to stop. It’s not okay. Someone needs to sit down and talk to him,” said the 23-year-old. It was a “circus show”. Kyrgios has good character traits, but also “a very evil side”.

Kyrgios sensed a bad loser in Tsitsipas, as he defeated him twice in just over two weeks. “Maybe he should try to figure out how to beat me a few times first,” said the Australian, calling his opponent “soft”.