Salem Radio Network News Saturday, October 1, 2022

Sports

Tennis-Wilander criticises toxic atmosphere in Kyrgios-Tsitsipas tussle

By Sudipto Ganguly

LONDON (Reuters) – Seven-times major champion Mats Wilander said he had never seen anything like the combustible atmosphere during the Wimbledon clash between Nick Kyrgios and Stefanos Tsitsipas and joined calls for umpires to be stricter about players’ misbehaviour.

Australian maverick Kyrgios knocked out fourth-seeded Greek Tsitsipas in a ill-tempered but high-quality third-round Court One slugfest on Saturday which often threatened to spiral out of control.

Kyrgios was warned for swearing and had a running dialogue with the umpire while Tsitsipas lost his composure and tried to hit his opponent with a smash after coming close to being defaulted for hitting a ball in frustration into the crowd.

“Is it entertaining? Yes. Is it respectful? No,” Wilander told Eurosport. “Is the tennis great at times? Unbelievable, because both players are such good players. And Kyrgios is so talented.

“I’ve never seen anything like it. I’m not sure I want to see something like that, again, to be honest, because I don’t think this is what we want to promote in tennis. We want to not promote it as entertainment.

“We want to promote it as inspirational, educational, but this is what people maybe want to see. I’m not sure I’m a big fan of what’s going on to be honest.”

In April, men’s governing body ATP warned players in an internal note that officials had been directed to take a stricter stance against on-court misconduct while its code of conduct for such violations will also be reviewed.

The 27-year-old Kyrgios has received multiple hefty fines this year and in the past and got a $10,000 one for spitting in the direction of a spectator during his match against British wildcard Paul Jubb.

A $4,000 fine for Saturday’s abuse was added to Kyrgios’s tally while organisers said on Sunday that Tsitsipas had been fined $10,000 for slamming the tennis ball in anger.

Tsitsipas labelled Kyrgios a “bully” with “an evil side” to his character after their meeting, while the Australian responded by calling the allegations “soft” and adding that the Greek had “serious issues”.

Former French open runner-up Alex Corretja earlier told Eurosport: “The chair umpires need to be stricter. There should be respect between players and (the) chair umpire.

“The umpire needs to say: ‘I am the boss and you can’t just do and say whatever you like’. We love the match; we love the entertainment but we need to respect also a little bit the conditions.”

(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly; editing by Ed Osmond and Clare Fallon)

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