Nick Kyrgios isn’t sorry that he tried to hit Rafael Nadal with a ball during their heated Wimbledon match Thursday.
During the third set, Kyrgios aimed the ball at the 18-time Grand Slam champion’s chest, who barely dodged it with a deflection. It’s customary during a tennis match to apologize to an opponent when they are hit or nearly hit with the ball.
But Kyrgios addressed the play after the match — which he lost 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (5) 7-6 (3) — and didn’t hold back on his feelings for Nadal, admitting he wanted to hit his opponent “square in the chest.”
“Why would I apologize?” he added. “I mean, the dude has got how many Slams, how much money in the bank account? I think he can take a ball to the chest, bro. I’m not going to apologize to him at all.”
Nadal had the last laugh and after the victory had some words of his own for Kyrgios.
“I don’t say Nick does this stuff to bother the opponent, but [it] is true that sometimes he’s dangerous,” Nadal said. “When he hit the ball like this, [it] is dangerous for a line referee, dangerous for a crowd. I know he’s a big, talented player, but I know when you hit this kind of ball, the ball can go anywhere.”
Frustration was building all day for Kyrgios, who told reporters after the match that the chair umpire was a “disgrace.”
“I’m serving, I’m like starting my routine. Rafa said, ‘Stop.’ The rule is like, ‘Play to the speed of the server,'” Kyrgios said. “Why do I have to wait for him to get into his rhythm every time? I got angry at the ref.”
Kyrgios added that he felt the umpire was on “a little bit of a power trip.”
“He was just terrible,” Kyrgios said. “I thought the way he handled the match was just bad.”
With the win, Nadal advances to the third round and is set to face Jo-Wilfried Tsonga on Saturday.