Tennis: Stan still can't stand Kyrgios

Croatian tennis player Donna Vekic, who was dragged into the Nick Kyrgios controversy, has finally come out to chide the Australian for his crude remarks about her at the Rogers Cup in Montreal.
Croatian tennis player Donna Vekic, who was dragged into the Nick Kyrgios controversy, has finally come out to chide the Australian for his crude remarks about her at the Rogers Cup in Montreal.PHOTO: REUTERS

Wawrinka says Aussie has not given proper apology for jibe that has angered locker room

CINCINNATI • Stan Wawrinka accused Australian bad boy Nick Kyrgios on Wednesday of failing to apologise properly for his lurid outburst towards the Swiss star last week.

Kyrgios made worldwide headlines after crude remarks concerning Wawrinka's reported girlfriend, teenager Donna Vekic, during a match against the Swiss ace at the Rogers Cup in Montreal.

World No. 5 Wawrinka admitted the controversy was still on his mind after he struggled into the third round of the Cincinnati Open on Wednesday, beating Croatia's Borna Coric 3-6, 7-6 (7-3), 6-3.

Kyrgios, who was fined by the ATP for his courtside sledge, had issued a statement apologising for his remarks, insisting they were made "in the heat of the moment".

However, Wawrinka said the 20-year-old's apology did not go far enough.

NOT A SMALL MATTER

They were not just a few words. With one sentence, he can touch and hurt a lot of people.

STAN WAWRINKA, on the on-court jibe by Australia's Nick Kyrgios which earned him a fine amid a furore in the locker room

"He didn't really apologise to the people. He should. That's it. That simple," he said.

"There was a lot of anger in the locker room about what he did. As a player, you realise more what he did and what is the consequence for the private lives of people involved.

"They were not just a few words. With one sentence, he can touch and hurt a lot of people. I had a lot of support in the locker room, that's for sure."

The 30-year-old has been linked with Vekic after his marriage to Ilham Vuilloud broke down earlier this year.

Wawrinka, who is divorcing his wife of six years, insisted however that the ugly controversy would not derail his preparations for the US Open.

"I know how myself, I know how I get ready for a Grand Slam. I know how I deal with everything. I'm sure I'm going to be ready for US Open," said the two-time Major winner.

"It was really important to win this match today.

"It was not the way I played on the court but the way I fight with little energy that I have. That's the most important.

"For sure I was struggling today to be completely on the court and to fight the way I wanted," he added of his first match - a battle that lasted 2hr 17 min - since the incident.

"It's been some tough days for some people, and it's always difficult to completely focus on the tennis court."

Kyrgios triggered widespread revulsion for his on-court taunt to Wawrinka that fellow Aussie Thanasi Kokkinakis had sexual relations with WTA professional Vekic.

Kokkinakis lost on Wednesday, going down to 12th seed Richard Gasquet 6-7 (5-7), 2-6, a day after the Frenchman eliminated Kyrgios.

Vekic, 19, also made her own response after being dragged into the controversy.

"It's not easy but I'm trying to focus on tennis and my next match," the world No. 129 told The Province newspaper in Vancouver.

"I haven't spoken to Kyrgios. But it's a very disappointing thing to be happening in our sport.

"I hope it won't happen again because it's not a very good image for our sport."

Wawrinka was joined as a winner by top seed Novak Djokovic, who beat Benoit Paire 7-5, 6-2, ending just before rain interrupted play.

Third seed Andy Murray ended the Cincinnati career of retiring Mardy Fish 6-4, 7-6 (7-1) in a post-midnight finish after the rain.

Spaniard Rafael Nadal finished even later as he defeated Frenchman Jeremy Chardy 6-3, 6-4.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 21, 2015, with the headline 'Stan still can't stand Kyrgios'. Print Edition | Subscribe