Australias Nick Kyrgios said at Queens of top players: I probably dont show them respect; theyre just good at tennis, as Daniil Medvedev admits: I always wanted Federer to lose
Nick Kyrgios says he is happy to keep his feud with Novak Djokovic ticking over at Wimbledon next month while Daniil Medvedev, another of the sports young rebels, uttered the ultimate heresy on Monday when he revealed he always wanted Roger Federer to lose.
For the first time since 2013, when the Latvian loose cannon Ernests Gulbis accused Federer, Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray of being boring, there is insurrection in the air and boredom seems the underlying cause of the latest unrest.
Stefanos Tsitsipas, the 20-year-old Greek who is top seed here, is impatient for other young players to challenge harder against the elite. Kyrgios, who has already upset his betters, thinks the stars do have a hold over the next generation but shouldnt. I probably dont show them respect, the Australian admitted. Theyre just good at tennis. I just dont know if the younger guys are good enough to beat them over five sets.
Meanwhile Medvedev, one of the games bright hopes, says that growing up in an era when the Big Three have won nearly all the important trophies had never sat well with him.
Shortly after dismissing the 35-year-old Spaniard Fernando Verdasco 6-2, 6-4 in 70 minutes on day one of the Fever-Tree championships, the 23-year-old Russian said: When I was 10, I hated Roger. I just couldnt see him win again. I was cheering from the first round for other guys, because thats the way I was. When Barcelona was winning everything in football, I wanted them to lose badly. If I lose first round, I dont care if its Nadal, Roger or Novak who wins the French Open. Im just upset about myself losing in the first round. Thats how it is.
Kyrgios, who said in a recent podcast that Djokovics cup-of-love victory celebrations were cringeworthy, was nevertheless happy to laud Nadal for his 12th Roland Garros triumph, adding that Wimbledon, which starts on 1 July, could be a shootout between Djokovic and Federer. Over five sets I dont think anyone will ever beat Rafa at the French Open, Kyrgios said. Its just too hard physically. But at Wimbledon its going to be tough to beat Novak or Federer, five sets.
Kyrgios, who faces the Frenchman Adrian Mannarino on Tuesday, is not intimidated by anyone. He won all four sets against Djokovic in their only two matches, back-to-back two years ago in Acapulco and Indian Wells, and has promised to imitate his love-to-the-crowd gesture if he beats him again. He said of his fractious relationship with the spiritual Serb, If I play Novak, hed just be determined to get one win against me.
I have played Rafa a bunch of times. We have beaten each other, as well. I think they are motivated to beat me in general. I dont think before those comments they were, like, Oh, I dont really care. They wanted to beat me, regardless. But my opinions wont change. I dont mind. When we go out there and we battle, thats what it is.
Kyrgios had a mixed message for his friend Murray, however, two days before the Scot returns to the game in doubles with Feliciano Lpez: Just to see him back healthy and seeing him happy on court is all that matters. Hes the first person I saw here on the court, doing doubles drills, and I couldnt believe what I was seeing. Its just good to see him back but I dont think I want to carry him for Wimbledon dubs.
Cameron Norrie, one of five British players in the Queens draw, found the two-times grand slam finalist, Kevin Anderson, too strong over two hours and 20 minutes and the South African won 4-6, 7-6 (5), 6-4.
In two and a half hours of late-evening drama the British qualifier James Ward came agonisingly close to going through to the second round but in the end Gilles Simon saw him off 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (2).
Kyle Edmund, Dan Evans and Jay Clarke play on Tuesday. Evans, coming off 10 straight wins and two grass-court titles, plays the three-times major champion Stan Wawrinka for the third time, having taken a set off him in Indian Wells this year and nearly beaten him in five high-quality sets in the third round of the US Open three years ago.