Tennis News: Kyrgios escalates beef with Becker, change ‘warrior’ Novak had to make, WTA criticised for charisma fail


Nick Kyrgios has continued his beef with Boris Becker with a sledge about the German great’s criminal past.

The pair have been feuding on X and things escalated on Wednesday when the Aussie brought up Becker’s bankruptcy-related charges. Becker spent eight months in prison last year.

Their social media spat started when Kyrgios used Becker, a six-time Grand Slam title winner, as an example when claiming that older tennis players were poor pundits on modern tennis because the game has eveolved so much.

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Becker has said Kyrgios would not be making a living from the game had it not been for the trail blazed by the stars of his generation.

“Uhhh what? I’ve been arguably one of the most watched players outside the big three the last decade? Fans around the world and have brought so many more people to the sport. I’ve created my own stuff off the court,” Kyrgios wrote on X, adding: “Try to not hide any more assets x”.

Uhhh what? I’ve been arguably one of the most watched players outside the big three the last decade? Fans around the world and have brought so many more people to the sport. I’ve created my own stuff off the court. Try to not hide any more assets x

— Nicholas Kyrgios (@NickKyrgios) December 19, 2023

Becker was found guilty of four charges under the Insolvency Act, having been accused of hiding assets in relation to his bankruptcy.

Kyrgios also reposted other quotes from Becker’s interview and shared another post, claiming he was the one bringing in more money for his fellow players.

He wrote: “Bro what. I’ve been one of the FEW PLAYERS that have brought million more fans to the sport and have made more money for everyone. NETFLIX…. Don’t remember seeing Boris on there. Guy is ridiculous. I’ve made my career off the court without the help of the others.”

Not once have I taken ‘slams’ away from Becker, or any of these legends. Not once have I said I’ve impacted the game MORE. I’ve simply said that I’ve built my own brand and done it my way & brought fans. Apparently a slam finalist has no credibility. Night, done with this convo.

— Nicholas Kyrgios (@NickKyrgios) December 19, 2023

Becker told Eurosport: “We live in a democracy. Everyone can think what he wants. You have to have respect for the past and simply say ‘thank you’ out loud that these old pros existed, because without them the tennis circus would no longer exist.

“I did play a bit in the 80s, but there was [Stefan] Edberg, [Mats] Wilander. The 90s were [Andre] Agassi, [Pete] Sampras. All these players make it possible for Nick Kyrgios not to play tennis at all this year and still be able to make a living from tennis.”

Kyrgios sparked the beef when he claimed current players are superior to those of the 70s and 80s.

“The game was so slow back then. I’ve watched Boris Becker and I’m not saying they weren’t good in their time, but to say that they would be just as good now, it’s absurd,” he told The Athletic.

Djokovic change that made him shine

Former French star Jo-Wilfried Tsonga says Novak Djokovic started out trying too hard to be like Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal, but sent his career into overdrive when he embraced his true nature.

The former world No.5 told the Generation Do It Yourself podcast that Djokovic longed to be like his great rivals.

“I consider that he had a period where he didn’t want to be himself. He wanted to be Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal, when perhaps he should have remained himself all along,” Tsonga said.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France in action against Daniil Medvedev of Russia during day seven of the 2019 Brisbane International at Pat Rafter Arena on January 5, 2019 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by TPN/Getty Images)

“I think today he is himself. And even if it is divisive, I think that’s why it is appreciated by many people. Because now he’s completely honest.

“He wanted to get away from this warrior image that he has, because he is a Serb, who experienced difficult things in his childhood. So he’s a warrior, he should have assumed it from the start. I think he would have been loved for that.”

Djokovic recently spoke about the relationship he has with Federer and Nadal.

“Obviously we haven’t gotten along very well during our careers off the field,” he told 60 Minutes..

“We’re not friends because we’re rivals and it’s difficult to be close as opponents. Some things you share about your life or how you feel can be used against you.

“We have shared the stage for many years and I think there has always been the utmost respect, at least on my part, towards them. I hope that one day we will be closer, to be able to sit and talk and reflect. It would be truly incredible.”

Hewitt at the helm

Australia’s David Cup captain Lleyton Hewitt will return to captain the Aussie team at the United Cup.

Eighteen nations will contest the tournament in Perth and Sydney starting December 29 and ending on January 7.

The tournament began last year with Hewitt and Sam Stosur at the helm.

David Witt, who helped lead the United States to the 2023 trophy, also returns in 2024 for the Americans’ title defence.

Can Djokovic go the distance?

Former Spanish star Alex Corretja has questioned Novak Djokovic durability ahead of a Golden Slam attempt in 2024.

The Paris Olympics adds an extra high profile tournament to the four majors next year.

It appears a big leap for Djokovic to win all five – considering he’s yet to claim a Grand Slam of all four – pulling up just short three times.

While there are doubts over the fitness of Rafa Nadal – set to return in Brisbane ahead of the Australian Open – a hungry pack of new talent will be waiting for a slip up.

Novak Djokovic. (Photo by Fran Santiago/Getty Images for ITF)

“I think that would be a little bit surprising [to win a Golden Slam],” Corretja said.

“Because even if he improves his game so much, he’s getting older. It’s normal that he is getting older and the recovery is not the same.

“I’m sure that he’s going to keep on winning Slams, but it’s going to be tougher and tougher and he knows that.”

While Djokovic ended 2023 as world No.1 for an eighth time, faced several defeats by the younger rivals including Lorenzo Musetti (at the Monte-Carlo Masters), Holger Rune (at the Rome Masters), Carlos Alcaraz (in the Wimbledon final) and Jannik Sinner (in the ATP Finals group stage and the Davis Cup).

“In a way, I feel the match that he lost against [Jannik Sinner] in the Davis Cup might be good for him. It’s a wake-up call to say, ‘Okay, I’m doing unbelievably, but I can’t relax for one second because some of the guys behind me are going to push me so much. They’re very dangerous and they know they can beat me now,’” Corretja said.

Pliskova bemoans loss of charisma

Karolina Pliskova fears the women’s tour has suffered a loss of charisma with the retirements of Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova.

Pliskova, a former world No 1, believes there was a bigger interest in the women’s game earlier in her career.

“I guess not only I feel that it’s not entirely ideal, even though each of today’s top girls has something to offer,” Pliskova told iSport.

“I won’t comment on the tennis aspect, but charisma plays a role too. Sharapova and Serena were huge personalities, even in the marketing world. You can’t compare today’s girls with them. And I think that in this situation, the WTA isn’t helping much either.

“It doesn’t seem to me that they promote it well. Women’s tennis now seems sidelined. Not as many people go to it as before. When I was playing well and these big names were still active, the level of everything around the game was higher.”

Murray joins young gun for Brisbane

Andy Murray has added another event to his Australian Open warm-up schedule and it should prove a treat for Brisbane fans.

The former world No 1 had already entered the singles draw at the Brisbane International but he’s added the doubles with 20-year-old Holger Rune – giving the pair a 16-year age gap.

Rune is coached by Boris Becker and world ranked No.8.

Murray is trying to restart his momentum after a disappointing 2023 where he slipped to world No.42.

It will be the first time that Murray and Rune play together.

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