Nick Kyrgios took exception to being jeered by Mexican fans after retiring due to injury in Acapulco: ‘I tried to play, I tried to give the fans a little bit of tennis and they’re disrespectful.’
Kyrgios also repeatedly claimed he ‘couldn’t give a f**k’ about the crowd’s reaction.
The Australian triumphed in spectacular style at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel in 2019, beating Rafael Nadal, Stan Wawrinka and Alexander Zverev on his way to winning the 500-level title.
But his title defense in 2020 lasted just 32 minutes before Kyrgios retired due to a left wrist injury.
Kyrgios had not competed since the Australian Open due to the injury, pulling out of the New York Open and the Delray Beach Open.
He took the court in Acapulco against Ugo Humbert on Tuesday, but retired trailing 3-6 and was booed by the crowd as a result.
Asked how he felt about being booed by the crowd, Kyrgios said:
‘I couldn’t give a f**k. I literally couldn’t give a f**k.
‘I’m not healthy. I tried to come here, I tried to play. I’ve been doing media for the tournament and helping out.
‘I tried to play, I tried to give the fans a little bit of tennis and they’re disrespectful.
‘I honestly just really couldn’t give a f**k.’
It’s ironic that Kyrgios should accuse the Acapulco crowd of being ‘disrespectful’, given that it was his behavior during his win over Nadal in 2019 that provoked the Spaniard to remark that Kyrgios ‘lack[ed] respect for the crowd, his opponent and towards himself’.
It was Nadal who ended Kyrgios’s run at the Australian Open, winning their fourth-round clash in four sets.
Kyrgios, who also helped Australia to reach the semifinals of the ATP Cup in January with three singles victories, has traditionally had a public-relations issue. At the end of 2019, he came second in an Australian poll to find the most hated sportsperson of the year/decade – behind Oscar Pistorius, who was found guilty of killing his girlfriend.
But the 24-year-old garnered much positive attention in January for the way he took the lead in inspiring the tennis community to raise money for bushfire relief. Kyrgios kickstarted what became a massive effort by offering to donate 200 Australian dollars for each ace he hit during the Australian tennis summer, and called upon Tennis Australia to organize an exhibition match. The subsequent Rally for Relief event, held before the Australian Open began, raised almost $5 million.
It was a positive start to the season after Kyrgios was placed on probation for six months by the ATP Tour in 2019 for various infractions, including unsportsmanlike conduct and verbal abuse of officials and spectators, and given a 16-week suspended ban.
Kyrgios’s six-month probation will be over at the end of March 2020.
‘I’ve been dealing with a bit of a wrist injury, obviously, for the last couple of weeks.
‘After the Australian Open I took like a week and a half off and then I started hitting again, I started feeling my wrist. I didn’t play last week in Delray, still came here, thought I would be able to play but my wrist is not ready to play. I can feel it on every backhand.
‘It’s unfortunate, you know. After the memories I had last year it was tough for me to come here and pull out.’