‘Ain’t holding back’: Nick slaps Novak again
Nick Kyrgios has taken another swing at Novak Djokovic after branding the world No. 1 a "tool" for suggesting improvements for players stuck in quarantine ahead of the Australian Open.
Seventy-two players were forced into a hard 14-day lockdown after several cases of COVID-19 were detected on board charter flights carrying stars Down Under for the year's first grand slam.
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As many competitors complained, Djokovic wrote a list of recommendations to Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley in an effort to make his colleagues' lives more bearable.
The Serbian later issued another letter to clarify the list and defend himself in the wake of fierce criticism.
But Kyrgios landed another blow in their bitter feud, posting an old quote to his Instagram stories claiming there's no way Djokovic, the winner of 17 grand slam singles titles, could ever be the greatest male tennis player of all time.
"No matter how many grand slams he wins, he will never be the greatest for me," Kyrgios told the No Challenges Remaining podcast in 2019.
"Simply because I've played him twice and, I'm sorry, but if you can't beat me, you're not the greatest of all time."
Kyrgios uploaded that quote again to Instagram on Thursday night, adding the caption: "I ain't holding back."
Kyrgios has beaten Djokovic in both of their encounters, at Indian Wells in 2017 and in Acapulco, Mexico that same year.
Djokovic published an open letter on Twitter on Wednesday night in which he tried to "clarify" demands he appeared to make to the organisers of the Australian Open.
Djokovic, an eight-time champion in Melbourne, was widely harangued on Tuesday after reportedly issuing a list of demands that included moving quarantined players into private homes with tennis courts and getting them better meals.
In Wednesday's tweet, Djokovic said his letter to Tiley had been taken the wrong way.
"My good intentions for my fellow competitors in Melbourne have been misconstrued as being selfish, difficult and ungrateful," said Djokovic. "This couldn't be farther from the truth."
Djokovic said he was merely speaking up for fellow players who were not being treated as well as him.
"I genuinely care about my fellow players and I also understand very well how the world is run and who gets bigger and better and why," he wrote.
"I've earned my privileges the hard way and for that reason, it is very difficult for me to be a mere onlooker knowing how much every help, gesture and good word mattered to me when I was small and insignificant in the world pecking order.
"Hence, I use my position of privilege to be of service as much as I can where and when needed."
Originally published as 'Ain't holding back': Nick slaps Novak again