While the rest of the world’s top tennis players battle for Grand Slam glory in Paris, Australians Nick Kyrgios and Bernard Tomic have been slugging it out on social media.
One-time prodigy Tomic appears to have triggered the row by giving his thoughts on why world number 76 Kyrgios tended to get rankled by comparisons between the two. “The only logical explanation is that I’m his idol,” Tomic, now ranked 418th in the world, said on Instagram on Wednesday.
“He’s always been in my shadows growing up. That’s why any time someone mentions my name to him, it gets under his skin.
“He knows he can’t re-write history. The records that I set when I was 16, 17, 18, and 19 – youngest Slam quarter-finalist at Wimbledon, the biggest tournament in the world.”
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Kyrgios’s riposte came via the same social media network accompanied by a screenshot of some of Tomic’s recent results on the Challenger Tour – the level below the main ATP Tour.
Tomic and Kyrgios having yet another off court battle… pic.twitter.com/1rfkr06ZiS
— Val Febbo (@VFebbo96) May 25, 2022
“Bernard,” he wrote. “I didn’t realise it was this bad. I low key feel bad now. Hit me up if you need me to help you remember how to play.
“Let’s not forget the time I paid for your flight home from Shanghai because you had no money,” he added. “Hahahaha re-write history, you are the most hated athlete in Australia.
“You are right, no one can take over that.”
Despite their obvious talent, both players have exasperated Australian tennis fans with their conduct both on and off the court.
Their paths have diverged in the last few years, however, with Kyrgios still playing among the elite and Tomic entering the world of Grand Slam qualifiers and Challenger events.
Kyrgios won his first Grand Slam doubles title at the Australian Open this year and also reached the quarter-finals of the singles draw at the prestigious Indian Wells tournament.
He also reached the last four on clay in Houston in April but decided to skip the French Open for the fifth consecutive year.
Kyrgios was fined $35,000 for criticising the umpire and smashing his racket during a fourth-round loss to Jannik Sinner at the Miami Open in March.