Stefanos Tsitsipas has clarified that his comments about Nick Kyrgios during the 2022 Wimbledon tournament were “misinterpreted” and wrongly perceived as racist on social media.
Tsitsipas, representing Greece, had criticized Kyrgios’ approach to tennis as “uneducated” following their intense third-round match. He also mentioned that Kyrgios brought a “NBA basketball attitude” to the game. These remarks were featured in Netflix’s Break Point series.
The current world number five, Tsitsipas, expressed his regret over the misunderstanding and the distorted image it created of his intentions. Taking to Facebook, he stated, “It has come to my attention that some individuals have misinterpreted my comments regarding Nick Kyrgios… insinuating racism where none exists.”
Tsitsipas, 24, emphasized that he holds no prejudices based on background, ethnicity, or interests, and he deeply regrets if his words caused offense or were misinterpreted. He clarified that his previous remarks were not intended to undermine Kyrgios’ intelligence or abilities. Instead, he aimed to express his perspective on certain aspects of Kyrgios’ playing style, drawing comparisons to the passion and intensity often associated with basketball. Tsitsipas intended to highlight the dynamic and captivating nature of Kyrgios’ approach to the game, rather than criticize his character or capabilities.
The Greek player acknowledged the hurt he may have caused and pledged to be more mindful of his words and their impact in the future.
In the match in question, Kyrgios emerged victorious with a score of 6-7 (2-7), 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (9-7), progressing to his first Grand Slam final where he ultimately lost to Novak Djokovic.
The match was filled with incidents, including Kyrgios calling for Tsitsipas to be disqualified after hitting a ball into the crowd in frustration, narrowly missing a spectator. Kyrgios had already received a warning for an obscenity, while Tsitsipas received a point penalty for a second code violation after striking the ball away in response to an underarm serve.
Following the match, Tsitsipas labeled Kyrgios as a “bully” with “an evil side,” while Kyrgios mentioned that Tsitsipas had “serious issues.”
In response to Tsitsipas’ statement, Kyrgios acknowledged the heated battle between them, attributing their strong reactions to the intensity of their matches. He expressed his belief that Tsitsipas secretly appreciates his unique brand of tennis and reassured that they were on good terms.
Kyrgios underwent knee surgery in January but aims to be fit for the upcoming Wimbledon tournament, commencing on July 3rd.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about clarification
What comments did Stefanos Tsitsipas make about Nick Kyrgios at Wimbledon in 2022?
Stefanos Tsitsipas referred to Nick Kyrgios’ approach to tennis as “uneducated” and mentioned that Kyrgios brought a “NBA basketball attitude” to the game.
Why were Stefanos Tsitsipas’ comments perceived as racist?
Stefanos Tsitsipas’ comments were perceived as racist on social media due to the mention of “NBA basketball attitude,” which was seen as a racial stereotype. However, Tsitsipas clarified that his intention was to highlight the passion and intensity associated with basketball, not to make any racial implications.
Did Stefanos Tsitsipas apologize for his comments?
Yes, Stefanos Tsitsipas expressed regret for any misunderstanding caused by his comments and apologized if they had caused offense. He emphasized that he holds no prejudices towards anyone based on their background, ethnicity, or interests.
How did Nick Kyrgios respond to Stefanos Tsitsipas’ statement?
Nick Kyrgios responded to Tsitsipas’ statement by acknowledging the intense battle they had on the court and stating that they are on good terms. He mentioned that sometimes players enter press conferences without fully digesting the match and expressed his belief that Tsitsipas secretly appreciates his brand of tennis.
What were the incidents during the match between Stefanos Tsitsipas and Nick Kyrgios?
During the match, Nick Kyrgios called for Stefanos Tsitsipas to be disqualified after Tsitsipas hit a ball into the crowd in frustration, narrowly missing a spectator. Kyrgios had already received a warning for an obscenity, while Tsitsipas received a point penalty for a second code violation after striking the ball away in response to an underarm serve.