‘He’s got a sick obsession with wanting to be liked’: Nick Kyrgios launches astonishing attack on ‘cringeworthy’ world No 1 Novak Djokovic
In an outspoken interview last night the forthright Australian also accused Rafael Nadal of being a bad loser, and described his uncle Toni as an ‘idiot’ for criticising his supposed lack of education.
But it is Djokovic who is the particular subject of his ridicule, especially when it comes to his ‘feel the love’ celebrations after he has won matches.
Nick Kyrgios has launched a stinging attack on ‘cringeworthy’ Novak Djokovic
In a remarkable interview with the No Challenges Podcast, during which the Australian concedes that his own self-discipline is lacking, he takes aim at the Serbian and his attempts to court popularity with the public.
‘I just feel like he’s got a sick obsession with wanting to be liked,’ said the world number 36 from Canberra. ‘He just wants to be Federer. I feel he wants to be liked so much that I just can’t stand him. This whole celebration thing is so cringeworthy, it’s very cringeworthy.
‘Djokovic just riles me the wrong way. He always says what he thinks he needs to say rather than his actual opinion. The celebration just kills me. Honestly if I play him and beat him again, I’m doing the celebration in front of him, that would be hilarious.’
He acknowledges the Serb’s undeniable prowess as player, but expresses surprise that Andy Murray does not have better record against him.
The Australian star claimed Djokovic would never surpass the greatness of Roger Federer
‘He (Djokovic) is unbelievable, a champion of the sport, one of the greatest we will ever see. I think he will get the Grand Slam count and overtake Federer. But no matter how many Grand Slams he wins, he will never be the greatest to me.
‘Simply because I’ve played him twice and, I’m sorry, but if you cannot beat me, you cannot be the greatest of all time. If you look at my day to day routine, at how much I train and put in it’s zero compared to him.
‘I feel he (Murray) is so much better than Novak, I’ve played them both. I think Andy returns better, his serve is better. He should have won so many more Grand Slams. Against Murray you can’t slice, he knows that’s garbage. But I feel Djokovic doesn’t really know what to do.
Kyrgios has little time for Fernando Verdasco, labeling him ‘the most arrogant person ever’
‘For me Federer will always be the greatest of all time. What Rafa has done has been pretty scary too.’
But Kyrgios, who has an unusually strong record against the top three players, has not liked Nadal’s reactions when he has lost in their meetings: ‘He’s super salty every time I beat him,’ adds the Australian.
There is, however, one Spaniard he dislikes even more, flamboyant lefthander Fernando Verdasco: ‘He’s the most arrogant person ever. He thinks he’s god’s gift but, dude, your backhand’s pretty average.’
Kyrgios was speaking at the Italian Open in Rome, where play was completely washed out yesterday. It seemed to be divine intervention after tournament organisers doubled the price of tickets for the appearance of Roger Federer, which ended up being postponed until today.