Nick Kyrgios battled through to the third round of the Australian Open with a hard fought victory over Gilles Simon, but couldn’t resist a thinly-disguised swipe at potential fourth round opponent Rafael Nadal on the way.
- Nick Kyrgios made fun of Rafael Nadal’s pre-serve routine after being handed a time violation for taking too long over his serve
- Krygios has criticised Nadal for taking too long over his serve in the past
- The pair are on track to meet in the fourth round if both get through their third round ties
In the second set of the match on Melbourne Arena, Kyrgios was penalised with a time violation for taking too long with his serve.
Players have 25 seconds to begin their service action from the end of the last point, as judged by the chair umpire.
After appearing incredulous at being penalised, the Aussie began a theatrical display of moves directed at umpire Jaume Campistol, feigning at tucking non-existent hair behind his ears and picking at his underwear.
There was little doubt who he was mimicking.
Nadal completes a notoriously convoluted series of moves before serving, which some players, led by Kyrgios, say takes too long and goes unpunished by umpires.
“I know what you’re getting at,” Kyrgios said when asked about the time violation in the press conference after the match. The Australian is usually known to race through his service games.
“I started my service motion. There wasn’t any extracurricular activities I was doing before my serve to waste time.
“I mean, it happened. That’s the ref’s discretion whether I went over the clock or not. It really didn’t matter too much.”
It really didn’t.
Kyrgios responded by slamming an ace with his next serve on his way to a 2-0 lead in the match, a match he eventually won in four sets, 6-2, 6-4, 4-6, 7-5.
Nadal: ‘I really don’t care’
Kyrgios is not the only player to take umbrage with Nadal’s lengthy pre-serve routine.
His opponent on Thursday even got in on the act of poking fun at the reigning US Open champion.
When the Frenchman was handed his own time violation in the third set, he too pretended to pull at his underwear, sending Kyrgios into fits of giggles at the other end of the court.
“I don’t wear underwear,” Kyrgios said when asked about whose impression was better, “So … probably Gilles.”
Kyrgios and Nadal have had, at best, a tumultuous relationship in recent years.
Last year, Kyrgios described Nadal as being “super salty” in an interview with New York Times reporter Ben Rothenberg, after the 19-time grand slam winner slammed the Aussie for lacking respect when he was defeated by the big-serving maverick at the Mexican Open.
The pair subsequently met at Wimbledon, where Nadal prevailed in four sets.
When told of the antics that took place on Melbourne Arena after his straight-sets victory over Federico Delbonis, Nadal refused to take the bait.
“I really don’t care.
“I am here to play tennis. Honestly, I don’t care at all. If was funny, good. That’s it.”
Nadal’s ‘scary moment’
Despite dispatching Delbonis with minimal fuss in around two and a half hours, Nadal did have one moment that caused him alarm on Rod Laver Arena.
In the third set Nadal sent a wayward, stinging forehand back over the net, hitting a ball girl flush on the side of the face.
The ball girl was OK, giving the thumbs up straight away as Nadal grimaced behind the baseline before running over the check on his victim and pecking her on the cheek.
“Well for her probably it was not a good moment,” Nadal said on court after the match.
“I was so scared for her, honestly.
“The ball was quick and straight on her, so she is a super brave girl.”
Nadal later gave the ball girl his bandana as a memento of the incident.
“[It was] one of the more scary moments I’ve had on a tennis court,” Nadal added.
“I am very happy that [she] is good.”