Nick Kyrgios’ has another victim on file after giving World No. 3 Dominic Thiem the “potato” treatment on social media.
The Aussie tennis star roasted the 2020 Australian Open finalist after the Austrian slugger took aim at Kyrgios’ “cheap” criticism of Novak Djokovic and Alexander Zverev.
Kyrgios was widely applauded for publicly condemning the World No. 1 and other players busted partying at a night club without their shirts on during the disastrous Adria Tour event in Serbia.
Zverev had pledged to self-isolate after featuring in the ill-fated tour that led to Djokovic, his wife, three more players and other members of their various entourage testing positive to coronavirus following a stint at a Belgrade nightclub.
Then, just days after his public apology, videos emerged of Zverev partying in Monaco.
Kyrgios’ vocal criticism of his colleagues stirred up tennis’ hornets nest, highlighted by the extraordinary suggestion from German legend Boris Becker that the Canberra product was a “rat”.
Thiem, who also participated in the Adria Tour debacle, this week took sides with Djokovic and Zverev labelling the criticism directed at the pair “nonsense”.
In comments interpreted to be a shot at Kyrgios, Thiem said it was “cheap” for critics to heap pressure on Djokovic.
“Kyrgios has built a lot of nonsense himself,” Thiem told Austrian publication Tiroler Tageszeitung.
“I understand even less when he interferes with everything. It would be better if he came to terms with himself rather than always criticising the others.”
Thiem said the mistakes made by Zverev and Djokovic were not for Kyrgios to judge.
“He should have done it like me. He was also tested negatively, only his mistake was that he first wrote the statement and then had the bad luck of being filmed at the party,” Thiem said.
“But I don’t like the way people criticise him. He is treated as if he were an elementary school child. But he’s a 23-year-old man. Sure, he made a mistake — but I don’t understand why everyone is getting involved.”
He said it is particularly unfair for Djokovic to be the criticism lightning rod for the failures made by Adria Tour organisers and officials.
“But it is the same as with Zverev: I do not understand why so many shoot at Novak Djokovic. He didn’t break a law. You have to say that clearly,” Thiem said.
“He didn’t do anything. If I ignore our role model function – where we made mistakes — I don’t understand the criticism of us. I was in Nice now, I saw pictures of other cities. It is no different than the tournament in Belgrade.
“And then hit Djokovic like this? It’s too cheap for me.
“It was his mistake, but I don’t understand why a lot of people want to interfere. Kyrgios did a lot of mistakes himself. It would be better for him to come clean instead of criticising others.”
Kyrgios responded on Wednesday morning by questioning Zverev’s intelligence after the Austrian still failed to grasp the real world consequences for social distancing breakdowns during the global coronavirus pandemic.
His suggestion that Kyrgios himself has reason to “come clean” appears to have struck a nerve.
“What are you talking about @ThiemDomi,” Kyrgios posted on Twitter.
“Mistakes like smashing rackets? Swearing? Tanking a few matches here or there? Which everyone does? None of you have the intellectual level to even understand where I’m coming from. I’m trying to hold them accountable.”
He went on to suggest Thiem, Djokovic and Zverev could all learn a lot about being role models during a global crisis.
“This just shows what a joke @ThiemDomi @AlexZverev & @DjokerNole think this is,” he wrote.
“2 of them partying like potato’s during a global pandemic. People losing lives, loved ones and friends, and then Thiem standing up for the ‘mistake’.
“These guys are the ‘top’ of our sport. SMH
Kyrgios last week also returned fire at Becker after the German’s suggestion that Kyrgios had overstepped the mark by attacking Zverev in public.
“Rats? For holding someone accountable? Strange way to think of it champion, I’m just looking out for people. WHEN my family and families all over the world have respectfully done the right thing. And you have a goose waving his arms around, imma say something,” he replied before following up with a second serve.
“Boris Becker is a bigger doughnut than I thought. Can hit a volley, obviously not the sharpest tool in the shed though.”
Zverev had been widely condemned after being filmed dancing in a crowded room in Monaco, prompting Kyrgios to take the 22-year-old to task on Instagram. “So I wake up and I see more controversial things happening all over the world, but one that stuck out for me was seeing Zverev again man, again, again, how selfish can you be? How selfish can you be?” Kyrgios said.