Nick Kyrgios hit out at an apparent lack of respect towards his achievements after being overlooked for Australia’s best tennis player of the year award for Ash Barty – who retired three months into the year.
Barty’s fifth Newcombe Medal as Australia’s top tennis player has been viewed dimly by her compatriot Kyrgios, who teed off at the award on his Instagram profile.
Former world No 1 Barty retired in March, not long after winning the Australian Open in January, which ended the country’s 44-year wait for a home champion.
She was awarded the Newcombe Medal at a ceremony on Monday.
Kyrgios, who enjoyed his best season and reached the final at Wimbledon, shared a graphic comparing his 2022 achievements with Barty’s on Instagram with the caption: “LOL. No respect at all. I don’t give a f—“
The post included the number of titles won by each player in 2022 – Barty’s three to Kyrgios’ four when singles and doubles wins are combined – as well as their grand slam wins, with Kyrgios winning the Australian Open doubles’ title alongside Thanasi Kokkinakis in the same week that Barty won her third singles slam. It also included their number of match wins across the year, with Kyrgios’ 61 vastly outnumbering Barty’s 14.
Kyrgios has previously said he feels under-appreciated in his home country despite drawing crowds and media attention whenever he plays.
He told Australian media last week it was an “easy” decision to skip Australia’s recent Davis Cup campaign but he might be enticed back to the team if the country “embraced” him a bit more.
Barty told reporters she was honoured to win the award.
“It’s obviously an amazing way to cap off what has been an incredible journey,” Barty said. “The journey of a lifetime, the journey of me chasing after my dreams and exploring what was possible out in the world.”
Kyrgios poised for French Open return
Kyrgios may be a long-time critic of the French Open, but the city of love has finally turned his head after a six-year absence.
The Wimbledon finalist has confirmed he will play in next year’s French Open – his first appearance since 2017 – because girlfriend Costeen Hatzi is keen to visit Paris.
“Yes, I’m playing the French Open, my girlfriend wants to see Paris, so why not?” Kyrgios said. “It will be good for me to earn some more money, although I would have preferred to stay at home.”
Outspoken Australian Kyrgios, 27, once publicly ranked Roland Garros as the “worst” grand slam event in tennis, and has never progressed beyond the third round. He has not played a European clay event since 2019 due to his scheduling and surface preferences. Though his girlfriend of one year Hatzi, 22, has changed his mind on Paris, it is unlikely he will play much more on clay during the season.
“I’ve played well on clay, I’ve beaten [Roger] Federer, [Stan] Wawrinka, I’ve played a final on clay [at Estoril in 2015] but usually at that time of year, I like spending time at home. Because if I don’t, then I’m travelling for eight months a year, it’s too much.
“There’s too many events on clay, I’ve said this over and over again. There are players in the top 100 who I don’t even know their faces or their names, and they’ve only played on clay, it’s crazy… My girl wants to get to know the city so I will have to go this year.”
‘I’ll always do what’s best for me‘
On Monday he posted on Twitter about the ranking system being “based on consistency and how much you play” rather than “skill and form”.
He played 13 events this season, reaching two finals, three semi-finals and four quarter-finals, pushing his ranking to 22nd. In recent years he has complained about the packed calendar on the tennis tour and opted out of competing at a number of top events to prioritise time at home in Australia.
Despite that, last week Kyrgios picked up a hefty appearance fee for playing in the Diriyah Tennis Cup exhibition event in Saudi Arabia. British No 1 Cam Norrie was also in attendance, and he beat both Kyrgios and world No 4 Stefanos Tsitsipas.
Kyrgios chose to travel to Saudi Arabia during the brief traditional off season, over playing for Australia at the Davis Cup last month where they were beaten to the title by Canada, and admitted he did so partly for the money on offer.
“At this point of my career, I’ll always do what’s best for me,” he said. “I can travel around the world playing exhibitions around this time of year for six figures – you know, I feel I put myself in that position – so it’s an easy one for me.
“I’ll easily take time with my family and my girlfriend and enjoy experiences around the world and earn that type of money rather than play a week away in something where I wouldn’t be able to be with my girlfriend and I’m not getting paid that well. [That] doesn’t really make sense to me and my progression as an athlete.”