Nick Kyrgios has set social media alight with a quip that he could switch national allegiances to Greece.
The Canberra-born tennis star was born to a Greek father and Malaysian mother, but has represented Australia since bursting onto the scene as a teenager.
Fellow Aussie tennis star Thanasi Kokkinakis also has Greek heritage, and regularly attracts Greek support at his matches in Australia.
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In an Instagram post on Thursday night, the pair, who are famously great friends and won the 2022 Australian Open men’s doubles together, posed with Greece’s own world No.7 Stefanos Tsitsipas.
“Things could be looking nice for team Greece soon,” Kyrgios wrote in the post.
Kokkinakis commented: “Trouble,” with a laughing emoji, while Tsitsipas said, “Davis Cup loading…”
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The union of Tsitsipas and Kyrgios comes as something of a surprise, given their rocky past, most notably at Wimbledon in 2022.
Tsitsipas took umbrage with Kyrgios’s behaviour on court during their third-round clash at the All England club, after which the rivals traded ferocious barbs in the post-match press conferences.
The frosty handshake between Nick Kyrgios and Stefanos Tsitsipas at Wimbledon in 2022. Credit: Simon Stacpoole/Offside via Getty Images
Following his four-set loss to the Aussie star, Tsitsipas accused Kyrgios of being a bully with an “evil side”, claiming the Canberran had intentionally turned the match into a circus.
Kyrgios, who at one point in the match refused to play until his opponent was defaulted for hitting a ball into the crowd, responded by calling Tsitsipas “soft”.
Tsitsipas later made further comments on Kyrgios as part of Netflix’s tennis documentary, Break Point.
He described the Australian’s approach to tennis as “uneducated”, saying he brought “that NBA basketball attitude” to the sport.
But Tsitsipas later sought to clarify his opinion on the Australian, posting a lengthy statement to his Facebook page.
The Greek world No.5 said there had been an “unfortunate misunderstanding that has a distorted picture of my intentions” in a lengthy statement posted to his Facebook page on Saturday.
“It has come to my attention that some individuals have misinterpreted my comments regarding Nick Kyrgios … insinuating racism where none exists,” Tsitsipas wrote.
“I want to emphasise that I harbour no prejudice towards anyone based on their background, ethnicity, or interests. I deeply regret if my words were misinterpreted or caused offence, as that was never my intention.”
Stefanos Tsitsipas later explained comments he made about Nick Kyrgios at Wimbledon in 2022. Credit: AP
Kyrgios acknowledged Tsitsipas’ statement on Twitter and said the pair were “all good”.
Tsitsipas added his remarks were not meant to undermine Kyrgios’ ability or intelligence.
“I simply intended to express my perspective on certain aspects of his playing style, drawing comparisons to the passion and intensity often associated with basketball,” he said.
“It was an attempt to highlight the dynamic and captivating nature of his approach to the game, not a criticism of his character or capabilities.
“Moving forward, I commit to being more mindful of my words and the impact they may have.”