Nick Kyrgios has emphatically hit back at Australian tennis legend Pat Rafter after he made remarks about his relationship with fellow players on tour.
Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis took the Australian Open by storm in 2022 when they teamed up and claimed the doubles crown.
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The duo, nicknamed the “Special Ks”, brought their flair to the court and had crowds up and off their feet all game long.
But Rafter said the way the pair conduct themselves on the court has ruffled feathers among those on tour and left them on the outside within the locker room.
Rafter appeared on the Australian Open: The Happy Slam podcast and labelled the doubles act as a “circus”.
“It’s an interesting one that is, because the players are really upset about it,” Rafter said.
“I don’t know how that operates with them and doesn’t really bother me either way. It’s a bit of a circus … doubles is a great event, it’s a lot of fun, and it helps you with singles, but it’s not where it’s at. But at the same time, it’s entertainment.”
The pair had crowds lining up to catch a glimpse of their historic run and while Rafter says they’re attracting more crowds he doesn’t think it’s worth it when they’re getting under the skin of other players.
“If they create drama, create ticket sales, and they create people watching, then good on them, but at what expense, I don’t know. The players are really upset. Are you supposed to understand the underwritten rule that that’s not how you behave when you do?” Rafter said.
Kyrgios however wasn’t having it and hit back at Rafter, slamming the Aussie great for having no idea what he was talking about or what is going on behind closed doors.
“He would have absolutely zero idea on what the locker room thinks. Me and kokk have great relationships with most of the players on tour. Guy is clueless,” Kyrgios wrote on Twitter.
Kyrgios couldn’t help himself and took a cheeky swipe at his critics after it emerged a pre-Australian Open exhibition match featuring the Australian star and Novak Djokovic had sold out in less than an hour.
Tennis Australia boss Craig Tiley on Monday confirmed Kyrgios would take on Djokovic this Friday night in an exhibition match “extravaganza” at Rod Laver Arena.
Tickets for the blockbuster event featuring the star duo went on sale at midday on Tuesday — and they were hot property, with the match sold out in only 58 minutes.
The 27-year-old retweeted the news of the exhibition selling out in lightning time with a dig at those who say he is bad for the sport.
“Wow Nick Kyrgios is bad for the sport! Wow what a disgrace, a national embarrassment! How dare he sell out another stadium, the arrogance,” a sarcastic Kyrgios wrote on Twitter.
Fellow Aussie great Pat Cash however wasn’t happy and let his anger be known over the upcoming event.
“What’s quite extraordinary, it’s actually hard to believe, Tennis Australia is putting on an event, on centre court, for Nick and Djokovic – I don’t know, is Novak gonna play, has he pulled out of it?” Cash said on SEN’s Sportsday.
“In what country, in what grand slam – would you have Wimbledon suddenly pulling out centre court or court 1 because Andy Murray needed a practice match?
“It’s hard to believe, they certainly wouldn’t do it at the French Open. There’s kids day and whatever and you go and play that. At the French Open it wouldn’t happen.
“They’ve bent over backwards to help Nick to get some matches and to do this, I don’t know.”