Nick Kyrgios is grabbing attention for his off-court comments again, discussing his fellow players with unusual candor.
Speaking to Ben Rothenberg of the No Challenges Remaining podcast, Kyrgios talked about members of the Big 3 at length. Most of the 24-year-old's biting comments were aimed at Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.
Kyrgios noted Nadal's record-breaking career on clay and that he had "adapted to the grass," but described him as "super salty" following his losses to the Aussie (Kyrgios is 3-3 all time against Nadal). At Acapulco this season, Nadal accused Kyrgios of "lacking respect" for his opponents, himself, and the crowds.
Kyrgios referenced the comment specifically.
"He’s my polar opposite, like literally my polar opposite," he said. "When he wins, it’s fine. He won’t say anything bad, he’ll credit the opponent, ‘He was a great player.’ But as soon as I beat him, it’s just like, ‘He has no respect for me, my fans and no respect to the game.’ And I’m like, ‘What are you talking about. I literally played this way when I beat you the other previous times and nothing changed, nothing changed.'"
Kyrgios also took aim at Djokovic, who he described as an "unbelievable player" and "champion of the sport, one of the greatest," but also pointed to his 2-0 record against him.
"Like, I’m sorry, but if you can’t beat me, you’re not the greatest of all time," he quipped.
But most of Kyrgios' issues with Djokovic were off the court.
"I just feel like he has a sick obsession with wanting to be liked. He just wants to be like Roger [Federer]," he said. "For me personally—I don’t care right now, I’ve come this far—I feel like he just wants to be liked so much that I just can’t stand him."
He described Djokovic's arm-hoisting gesture to the crowd as "cringe-worthy," adding that it bothered him.
"Honestly, that’s what I’m doing next time—if I play him and beat him, I’m doing his celebration, in front of him," he said. "He always says what he feels like he needs to say, never speaks his opinion."
Kyrgios also described Fernando Verdsaco as "the most arrogant person ever," though he was positive about fellow players like Roger Federer, Andy Murray, Feliciano Lopez and Frances Tiafoe.
"For anyone who wants to play a sport they just want to be like Federer," Kyrgios said. "I feel like his talent level, it’s off the charts. I did a bit of commentating down at the Australian Open this year and I was watching him play [Taylor] Fritz and his movement, his preparation and the way he reads the game, it’s second to none, seriously, he’s so talented."
"If I was his coach, he would have won more Grand Slams," Kyrgios said of Murray.
The No. 36 also kept some criticism for himself, saying he was "uncoachable" and hardly did any training, although he is "pretty smart" about the game.
Kyrgios is currently playing in Rome, where he got a first-round win.