Defiant Nick Kyrgios won`t change volatile style
Controversial Australian Nick Kyrgios says there is no chance he will ditch the volatile antics that have made him the talk of Wimbledon.
London: Controversial Australian Nick Kyrgios says there is no chance he will ditch the volatile antics that have made him the talk of Wimbledon.
Kyrgios has divided the All England Club between those that believe his colourful antics are good for a sport in need of characters, and others who claim his behaviour is petulant and disrespectful.
Even Australian fans are uncertain whether to embrace the brash 20-year-old, who swept into the last 16 for the second successive year with a typically chaotic 5-7, 7-5, 7-6 (7/3), 6-3 victory over Canadian seventh seed Milos Raonic on Friday.
In between unloading winners, Kyrgios angrily bouncing a racket into the crowd, got in trouble for wearing a headband, told a barracking spectator to be quiet and took advice from a fan in a Batman t-shirt.
But, asked if he was time to tone down the act, Kyrgios claimed he had to feel free to express himself to play at his best.
"I don`t care (what people think). Not at all. I think if you keep winning, they`ll just stay on board, simple as that," Kyrgios said.
"I think when I`m in that state of mind, when I feel relaxed and I`m playing around, I think that`s when I play my best tennis.
"I`m focusing, but at the same time I`m having fun. When I find that balance, I play some really good tennis.
"I was chatting to the crowd every now and then, playing with the ballboy. That`s a good place to be out there."
The flamboyant and fiery Kyrgios has earned a reputation as something of a malcontent after a series of rows with umpires and line judges, including shouting `dirty scum` during one disagreement, in the first two rounds.
But the 26th seed showed why he is so popular in some quarters with an eye-catching dismissal of the big-serving Raonic to set up a last 16 clash with French 21st seed Richard Gasquet.
"I like to watch entertaining tennis. Dustin Brown, Gael Monfils, those guys have a lot of fun out there," he said.
"I`m not the biggest believer in saying nothing out there or being a robot. I feel you should express yourself.
"The more people that are interested in tennis and wanting to play, I think it`s good."
Kyrgios was in equally eccentric form during his post-match press conference, which started with the youngster answering the first three questions about his headband with a defiant `no`.
He had been asked by officials to turn the headband, which had a purple and green stripe, inside out to conform to Wimbledon`s all-white clothing rule
"I like it," he eventually said of the rule. "What kind of question is that?
"They told me to turn it around, so I turned it around."
Asked if he regretted his decision to thump his racket into the grass so hard that it bounced into the crowd, he said: "I threw it, face down, it bounced over the fence. That`s what happened.
"I don`t want to hurt anyone. It was a good catch by the fan anyway."
On his reaction to the taunting fan, he was equally defiant.
"I thought she said something like, Pull your head in or something," he said.
"She started laughing. I didn`t really find it funny."
Kyrgios was happier about the encouragement he received from the fan in the Batman shirt
"I thought he was key in the match," he said. "He was actually saying some really good things at crucial moments. I think he helped."