Britain’s former number one Annabel Croft has told talkSPORT she has ‘no respect’ for Nick Kyrgios after the Australian called out Novak Djokovic as he announced his withdrawal from the US Open.
Outspoken tennis star Kygrios has confirmed will not be playing at this year’s US Open as a response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic in the United States and his home nation.
COVID-19 cases are still rising in America, and yet the tournament is expected to go ahead as planned at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York, running from August 31 to September 13.
Kyrgios has become the latest player to pull out, after women’s world No.1 Ash Barty confirmed she won’t be competing, but the Aussie ace has ruffled a few feathers again.
In a video statement posted online on Monday, the 25-year-old insisted he doesn’t have a problem with the US Open going ahead, or the players participating who are responsibly following guidelines.
But he was heavily critical of those be believes have not taken COVID-19 seriously enough, and aimed a very, very thinly-veiled jab at Djokovic for his part in organising the infamous Adria Tour.
Kygrios was vocal in his opposition of the ‘boneheaded’ exhibition series in Djokovic’s home nation of Serbia, which led to the world No.1 and a number of other players testing COVID-19 positive after they embraced on the court and were pictured partying together in a nightclub.
But Croft has told talkSPORT she finds it ‘hard to listen’ to Kygrios’ statement, especially after his ‘rude and vicious’ behaviour towards his fellow players.
Speaking on Tuesday’s White and Sawyer show, the former British No.1 said: “He is taking this position of the moral high ground and he has been incredible vocal, I’d go as far as saying he’s been unbelievably rude and vicious to quite a lot of his fellow tennis players in some Tweets quite recently.
“He’s been attacking Djokovic and Dominic Thiem and the other day I saw him calling Borna Coric a peanut brain, and the most boring player to watch.
“He’s very outspoken and he does things that create an enormous amount of attention. He’s sort of turned himself into this bad guy, a pantomime villain, but now he’s taking this moral high ground…
“I have to say, after some of the behaviour that I’ve seen from Nick Kyrgios I’m not one that’s inclined to really respect a lot of what he does.
“I don’t know where he’s made that statement from, wherever he is in Australia, but I can understand if he’s over there and it is very bad right now, they’re on lockdown, there’s an 8pm curfew, and so perhaps from his standpoint and for the Australian public he wants to do that [pull out of the US Open].
“But I don’t really respect him as a human being with the way he goes about his business on the court, so it’s hard for me to listen to him making that statement to be honest.”
Kyrgios wasn’t the only member of the tennis community to turn on Djokovic after his antics at the Adria Tour.
But Croft has defended the Serbian saying, as misguided as he was and, in hindsight, how badly the competition turned out, his reasons for staging it came from ‘the right place’.
“I believe he was trying to do the right thing,” Croft added.
“He was trying to put tennis back in front of the public and at that time Serbia wasn’t having a lot of cases, but I think it was some of the stuff that went out on social media where he was dancing in a nightclub, they were taking their shirts off and hugging, and on court they were hugging and greeting each other.
“Then, of course, things got bad, some of the players tested positive and he himself came down with it with his wife.
“But I do believe he was trying to do it from the right place. He had been advised by the Government in Serbia that it was OK to go ahead, but of course he really took the wrap and it hasn’t done him a whole lot of good, publicly.”
Source: TalkSport.com Tennis