Stefanos Tsitsipas, the current world number five in tennis, clarified his comment on Nick Kyrgios’ playing style, saying it was “uneducated”, and added that Kyrgios brought “that NBA basketball attitude” to tennis.
These remarks were shown in the Netflix series “Break Point.”
However, Tsitsipas denied any racism allegations and said that his words were misunderstood.
He wrote on Facebook that he had “no prejudice towards anyone based on their background, ethnicity, or interests” and that he regretted if his words caused any offense.
Tsitsipas said that he intended to express his perspective on certain aspects of Kyrgios’ playing style, comparing it to the passion and intensity of basketball.
He added that he wanted to highlight the dynamic and captivating nature of Kyrgios’ approach to the game and that his remarks were not meant to undermine Kyrgios’ intelligence or abilities.
Tsitsipas said he “deeply regrets” any hurt he may have caused and would be “more mindful” of his words and their impact in the future.
Kyrgios won the match against Tsitsipas 6-7 (2-7) 6-4 6-3 7-6 (9-7) and reached his first Grand Slam final, which he lost to Novak Djokovic.
The match was filled with incidents, with Kyrgios calling for Tsitsipas to have defaulted after he hit a ball into the crowd upon losing the second set, narrowly missing a spectator.
The Australian had received a warning for obscenity by then, while Tsitsipas was given a point penalty for a second code violation as he responded to an underarm serve by hitting the ball away in frustration.
After the match, Tsitsipas called Kyrgios a “bully” with “an evil side,” while Kyrgios said Tsitsipas had “serious issues.”
Responding to Tsitsipas’ statement on Saturday, Kyrgios said that it was a heated battle and that sometimes players go into press conferences without digesting the match.
He added that they had some crazy battles and that he knew deep down that Tsitsipas liked his brand of tennis.
Kyrgios had knee surgery in January but hoped to be fit to play in Wimbledon, which starts on 3 July.
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