Nick Kyrgios may not be at Roland Garros, but that hasn’t stopped him from taking a shot at an old rival in a bid to revive a supposedly forgotten soap opera.
Eight years have passed since the infamous incident in which he verbally clashed with Stan Wawrinka during a game in Montreal, telling him in a rather rude aside that he was sorry to let him know that his teenage Australian pal Thanasi Kokkinakis was involved with the Girlfriend of the Swiss was sleeping.
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Wawrinka was outraged, ranting that “sinking so low was not only unacceptable, but unbelievable.”
The “girlfriend” in question, aspiring WTA player Donna Vekic, expressed her disgust and Kyrgios herself eventually apologized.
That was eight years ago, and yet the hot-tempered Australian from thousands of kilometers away has reopened old wounds for the second time in two months.
With Kokkinakis and Warwinka both winning their first-round matches at the French Open and setting up their first-ever competition at Rolland Garros, Kyrgios couldn’t help but nudge the bear on social media.
“KOKK V STAN..LFG HAHAHAHAHA CMONNNNN…. That’s what we live for…… Stan doesn’t want to lose this,” boomed Kyrgios in a tweet adorned with emojis of staring eyes, buckets of popcorn and a man looking through his fingers.
Kyrgios also dug up old skeletons in March when he sided with world No. 8 Holger Rune in his own feud with Wawrinka, delivering another cheeky swipe at the veteran.
After suffering a surprise loss to Wawrinka in the third round in Indian Wells, Rune could be heard making a sarcastic comment about his opponent in response to a goodbye message Wawrinka gave him at the last game.
Last November, Wawrinka gave the 19-year-old some not-so-kind “advice” after the boy punched him.
“My advice to you is that you stop acting like a baby on the court, okay?” Wawrinka was heard saying.
Apparently Rune had kept the receipt and after their final encounter fired back with his own barb.
“You have nothing to say now?” Rune said on Monday.
Wawrinka obviously wasn’t expecting this and was speechless for a moment before asking, “What can I say?” and then walking away to shake the referee’s hand.
More was said in the heated exchange as they began going their separate ways, but the mics on the pitch failed to pick up what they were saying.
Kyrgios then aggravated the situation when he spoke up.
“Hahahahaha yeah everything is fine when you win… typical,” Kyrgios wrote on his Instagram story, sharing a video of the moment.
“@holgerrune with you, my brother.”
Back in Paris, neither Kokkinakis nor Wawrinka need a reminder of what a great match Wednesday’s match at the Simonne Mathieu Tournament Ground is, as they only offer respectful and enthusiastic observations of each other’s abilities.
In 2015, Kokkinakis was the young starlet with big plans as he advanced to the third round of Roland Garros while Wawrinka was in fine form, winning his second French Open.
Today, however, Kokkinakis is older and more battle-hardened and after all these years is still trying to reach another third round of a Slam at 27, while three-time Slam winner Wawrinka is trying to rekindle old glory at the ripe age of 38.
The Swiss, who beat Albert Ramos Vinolas in five sets on Monday, said: “It will definitely be an interesting game.
“I know him (Kokkinakis), I’ve seen him play many, many times. When he’s healthy, like this year, he’s always a dangerous player. He played well.”
Kokkinakis, too, thinks he’s a man “whose ballstrokes are still among the best,” but can’t imagine he’ll ever have the kind of stamina that still keeps Wawrinka going.
“I know whenever I’m out there I’m going to do my best and try to compete as hard as I can because I think I know I can’t do this forever,” Kokkinakis said.
“You never know, but I have a hard time imagining playing like these guys who play past 35, 36. I envy the guys who can play week in and week out.”
However, it is about time, the Adelaide man believes, that he finally achieves the same participation in the last 32 of 2015 in his 18th Grand Slam.
– With AAP’s Courtney Walsh and Ian Chadband