As much criticism as Nick Kyrgios cops for his – how does my nan put it? ‘Unsportsmanlike antics’, you can hardly deny that the Canberra-born tennis star’s press conferences make for fascinating viewing.
And boy was Monday’s a doozie.
After earning passage through to the second round of the Australian Open with a three-sets win over Brazilian Rogerio Dutra Silva, the world number 17 faced off against his arch rival: the media.
It began with the usual volley of sporting questions. But then along came a US reporter in search of a unique angle. So unique, in fact, that he lobbed the 22-year-old a question that had precisely nothing to do with tennis, or the tournament, or Australian sport, or Nick Kyrgios, or anything Nick Kyrgios knows about.
“You’re friends with the American football player Colin Kaepernick and have been supportive of him in the past,” the reporter began. “What are your thoughts on his not being signed by an American football team this season?”
There was a pause, then an eye rub before an exhausted Kyrgios replied, “I don’t think I’ve ever spoken to that dude in my life.”
('That dude' is a pretty big deal in the American sporting world. Formerly of the Sanfrancisco 49ers NFL team, the quarterback made international headlines in 2016 when he protested racial injustice by refusing to stand when the US national anthem played at the start of his games.)
Not put off by Kyrgios' complete lack of expertise/insight on the topic, the reporter pressed on: "But what are your thoughts about that?"
"Where does that question even come from?" the tennis player shot back. "We’re at the Australian Open, man. Are we done?"
And with that it was all over.
LISTEN: Jessie Stephens has a soft spot for Kyrgios' anger. In fact, she thinks it's a cry for help. She explains, on Mamamia Out Loud.
Monday's press conference exchange isn't even the most uncomfortable Kyrgios has been a part of. At last year's US Open he delivered what was described as a "tempestuous" performance following his first-round loss.
He attributed the defeat to not being "dedicated to the game, at all", and spoke about how he was playing hours of basketball and drinking milkshakes before his matches at the Masters 1000.
“Like I played an hour of basketball before I played David Ferrer in the semi-final," he said. "I was going to ice cream, like this Graeter’s [ice cream chain] getting a milkshake every day.”