Nick Kyrgios has unloaded on Australian tennis greats, saying Lleyton Hewitt is the country’s only champion to have truly stuck by him during the 27-year-old’s turbulent career.
Two days out from the biggest match of his life, Wimbledon singles finalist Kyrgios said it was “sad” that many Australian tennis legends had a “sick obsession” of wanting to tear him down.
“Look, the greats of Australian tennis, they haven’t always been the nicest to me personally. They haven’t always been supportive,” Kyrgios said at his pre-Wimbledon final press conference at the All England Club on Friday.
“They haven’t been supportive these two weeks. So it’s hard for me to kind of read things that they say about me.
“For instance, when I saw Ash Barty in the final of Australia, I was nothing but happy. I would never say a bad word about an Australian making a final. Like that’s just me.
“And the kind of only great that’s ever been supportive of me the whole time has been Lleyton Hewitt. Like he knows.
“He’s our Davis Cup captain, and he kind of knows that I kind of do my own thing. I’m definitely the outcast of the Australian players.
“He knows to kind of keep his distance and just let me do me. He just sends me a message here or there, ‘Keep going’. That’s literally it. Just, ‘Well done. Keep going’.
“It’s pretty sad because I don’t get any support from any of the other Australian tennis players, the male side – not the (current) players, but like the past greats.
“It’s weird they just have like a sick obsession with tearing me down for some reason.”
Pat Cash, who won Wimbledon in 1987, earlier this week accused Kyrgios of “cheating”, “manipulating” and “abusing” opponents and officials and generally taking “tennis to the lowest level I can see”.
A polarising figure, Kyrgios said he didn’t know why he was treated so poorly by the greats.
“Like, I just don’t know whether they don’t like me or they’re, like, afraid. I don’t know. I don’t know what it is,” he said.
“But it sucks, because if it was roles reversed, if I saw (Alex) de Minaur in a final, or if I saw Jordan Thompson or Thanasi (Kokkinakis), I’d be pumped. I’d be stoked.
“I’d be having a pint watching, going nuts. So I don’t know. Shout-out to Lleyton, I guess.”
Kyrgios, who even spent a couple of hours hitting with Hewitt on Sydney’s grass courts last month before flying out for Europe, will play six-time champion Novak Djokovic or great British hope Cameron Norrie for the Wimbledon men’s singles title on Sunday.