Djoker finally cracks in Kyrgios feud
Novak Djokovic has repeatedly shrugged off Nick Kyrgios' podcast taunts - until now.
The back-to-back Wimbledon champion has finally shown a hint of his true feelings, throwing some serious shade at the Aussie star on social media on Thursday morning.
The 16-time grand slam champion had let his racquet do all the talking for him as he surged to an iconic five-set victory over Roger Federer in the final at Wimbledon, while Kyrgios' second round loss to Rafael Nadal saw him slump to No. 47 on the ATP Tour Rankings released this week.
With Kyrgios enjoying a 2-0 winning record against Djokovic, the 24-year-old has previously suggested Djokovic isn't at the same level of greatness as Federer or Nadal.
He voiced those feelings without fear in an explosive podcast with New York Times tennis expert Ben Rothenberg, where he labelled the Serb "cringe-worthy".
"I just feel like he has a sick obsession with wanting to be liked," Kyrgios told the No Challenges Remaning Podcast.
"He just wants to be like Roger. For me personally - I don't care right now, I've come this far - I feel like he just wants to be liked so much that I just can't stand him.
"This whole celebration thing [the 'boob-throwing' celebration] that he does after matches, it's like so cringe-worthy. It's very cringeworthy.
"He's an unbelievable player, he's a champion of the sport; one of the greatest we'll ever see. He probably will, honestly, I reckon he will get the Grand Slam count, I reckon he will overpass Federer.
"We're talking about a guy who pulled out of the Australian Open one year because it was too hot. No matter how many Grand Slams he wins, he will never be the greatest for me.
"Simply because, I've played him twice and like, I'm sorry, but if you can't beat me, you're not the greatest of all time. Because if you like look at my day-to-day routine and how much I train and how much I put in, it's zero compared to him."
Djokovic refused to respond to the taunts all through his grass court campaign, saying on the eve of Wimbledon that he "wasn't losing sleep" over the claims. He also said he hasn't had a problem with anyone else on the ATP Tour. Only Kyrgios.
Having defended his Wimbledon title in dramatic fashion on Monday morning, Djokovic finally showed how he really feels about Kyrgios when he liked an Instagram Post where tennis legend John McEnroe was quoted from a BBC Radio interview declaring Kyrgios would be a top five player on the planet if he was able to give consistent, honest efforts every time he stepped onto the court.
Instead he finds himself just clinging onto a spot in the top 50.
"Is he good for the game? Yes he's good for the game," McEnroe told BBC Radio 5.
"Does he sell tickets? Yes. I can't handle the fact that he only tries half the time. We can't support that anymore. I don't think he should be out there anymore unless he gives an honest effort - that's my personal opinion.
"The guy would be top five in the world for sure if he was able to do it [give honest effort]. He's got an incredible - this is my opinion - fear of failure. He doesn't even allow himself to train hard enough to give himself a chance.
"You saw what he is capable of, he was driving Nadal crazy, it was the best second-round match, one of the best matches of the whole tournament. But when he plays guys he's supposed to beat, he doesn't even show up."
UK tennis site sportwalk.co then republished McEnroe's comments on Instagram in a post liked by Djokovic where the iconic American brat rubbished the Aussie's failure to deliver on his abundant talent.
It was a different tune to the Djokovic that fans saw during the Wimbledon championships - where he consistently palmed off questions about Kyrgios' barbs.
"Honestly, I think that deep down he is not such a bad guy," Djokovic said. "I don't know why Kyrgios says all these things. Whether he is seeking attention or has some other motive.
"He obviously wants to be sincere and transparent. It's the way he is, I respect that like I respect all other players on tour.
"He can say what he wants, I don't have a problem with it. Does he show me the same amount of respect that most other players do? No, he doesn't, but that's the way he communicates these days."
Djokovic's comments did nothing to add fuel to the fire, but Kyrgios made sure their friction continued to burn past the end of the tournament when he took to Twitter on the day of the men's final, openly barracking for Federer to topple his long-time rival.
Federer please win 👻— Nicholas Kyrgios (@NickKyrgios) July 14, 2019
There doesn't appear to be any signs of peace between the two parties any time soon, but the tennis world is fast moving on from Kyrgios' schoolboy antics.
He heads to the US Open, beginning August 27, as the World No. 47.
Djokovic will arrive as the World No. 1 with 16 majors to his name.