Stefanos Tsitsipas has described Nick Kyrgios as the “black sheep” of the ATP Tour who “likes attention” – and says there is “nothing wrong with it”.
Kyrgios, who is set to play for the first time in nearly a year next week, has often made headlines for his behaviour on and off court.
Last year he was critical of several players who played on the Adria Tour and earlier this month he labelled Novak Djokovic a "tool" for his suggestions to change quarantine rules for players preparing for the Australian Open.
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“Nick, he is the black sheep of the ATP. He likes to do unpredictable stuff," Tsitsipas told the No Challenges Remaining podcast.
"He likes attention, let’s not refute that. And that’s totally normal. There is nothing wrong with that. He has his own personality, which turns out, some people love it. A lot of people hate it and don’t understand it. But there are some people that are so into it.
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I think it’s totally fine and our sport needs that. It’s entertainment. It’s fun. It’s something unique and special that not many players have.
“I wouldn’t say we share a very close friendship but he does FaceTime me from time to time, at complete random times. Sometimes 1am. I don’t get it.”
Kyrgios has been accused of crossing the line on occasion, but Tsitsipas added: “As long as he’s not disrespectful. He might have been a few times and that’s not cool but when he’s in total respect of the game and does the right thing, it’s really fun to watch.”
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Tsitsipas and Kyrgios played doubles together in Washington in 2019 and have also had some light-hearted exchanges on social media over the last few years.
Tsitsipas says he was surprised with Kyrgios’ reaction when the pair were beaten in their last-16 doubles match.
“He is very hyperactive," he said. "Hates to lose. Trust me. He just hates to lose. I didn’t expect it myself.
“We played doubles in Washington DC and when he came off the court he was so disappointed, so frustrated and I was in shock. I didn’t think he would react that way.”
Both Kyrgios and Tsitsipas are set to play at the Australian Open, which begins on February 8.
Kyrgios is preparing for the event by playing at the Murray River Open, while Tsitsipas will be leading the Greek team at the ATP Cup.
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'Not the best advert' - Tsitsipas' shoe shreds as Kyrgios laughs at delay
'Not the best advert' - Tsitsipas' shoe 'shreds' as Kyrgios laughs at delay