Nick Kyrgios has long been one of tennis’ most polarizing players. The undeniably talented Australian player has been criticized for taking matches off or giving up on them early. He hasn’t been to a Grand Slam quarterfinal since 2015, but his name is still one of the more popular ones outside of tennis’ Big Four.
In a recent interview with the New York Times, Kyrgios opened up about his thoughts on Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. And he didn’t hold back on the latter two after praising Federer.
“I just feel like he has a sick obsession with wanting to be liked. He just wants to be like (Federer),” Kyrgios said of Djokovic. “I feel like he just wants to be liked so much, that I just can’t stand him. This whole celebration thing that he does, it’s like so cringeworthy.
As far as skill goes, though, Kyrgios believes Djokovic will be remembered forever.
“He’s a champion of the sport, one of the greatest we’ll ever see, I think he will pass Federer [in terms of grand slam wins],” he said.
Still, Kyrgios can’t get past what Djokovic does after he wins.
“The celebration just kills me,” he said. “Honestly, that’s what I’m doing next time: if I play him and I beat him, I’m doing his celebration, in front of him. That will be hilarious, right.”
Of Nadal, Kyrgios was equally critical, but for different reasons.
“He’s just my polar opposite, like literally my polar opposite. And he’s super salty.” Kyrgios said. “When he wins, it’s fine. He won’t say anything bad, he’ll credit the opponent – ‘he competed well today, he’s a great player,’ but then as soon as I beat him, it’s just like ‘he has no respect for me, my fans and no respect for the game’ – and I’m just like ‘what are you talking about?'”
Federer currently has 20 Grand Slams, while Nadal has 17 and Djokovic has 15. Djokovic, however, has been playing out of his mind recently, so he’s looking to close the gap. It would appear, in the meantime, that Kyrgios will quietly be rooting for Federer to hold onto his majors lead.