Nick Kyrgios is facing yet another warning from Wimbledon officials after breaking the All England Club’s strict dress code and then declaring that “I do what I want”.
The Australian, who secured his quarter-final place with a five-set victory against Brandon Nakashima, walked on court in a pair of largely red Nike Air Jordan trainers before then also putting them back on after the match and conducting his interview in a red cap.
The rules state that players should be decked out in “almost entirely white” from the moment they walk on court and it is understood that Kyrgios, who has already been fined $14,000 this tournament, will now be given a verbal reminder about the dress code.
Asked why he would walk on court in “bright red trainers” and do an interview in a red cap, Kyrgios replied: “Because I do what I want,” before then denying that he thought he was above the rules. “I just like wearing my Jordans,” he added. “That's okay. I'll wear some Triple Whites tomorrow.”
Kyrgios then declared that he loves the controversy that surrounds him. “More attention for me,” he said. “What's that saying? Any publicity is good publicity, right?”
Kyrgios had faced a barrage of criticism following his behaviour in his third round win against Stefanos Tsitsipas, notably on Sunday from compatriot Pat Cash.
The 1987 Wimbledon champion told the BBC that the match was "absolute mayhem" and accused Kyrgios of dragging the sport down. "He's brought tennis to the lowest level I can see as far as gamesmanship, cheating, manipulation, abuse, aggressive behaviour to umpires, to linesmen," said Cash. “Something has got to be done about it. It's just an absolute circus. It's gone to the absolute limit now."
Kyrgios was asked to respond to his critics. “I don't care,” he said. “I just smile. It's so funny. Hilarious. I almost just wake up and read things, and I just laugh. And I never forget things. Whether it was three, four years ago. I have a massive chip on my shoulder. I sit here now in the quarter-finals of Wimbledon again, and I just know there's so many people that are so upset. None of you know me at all - people love just to have an opinion.”
Kyrgios previously also reached the Wimbledon quarter-final in 2014, when he knocked out Rafael Nadal, before then losing to the Spaniard in the 2019 second round. Nadal and Kyrgios could now meet in the semi-finals. “There was a time where I was having to be forced out of a pub at 4am to play Nadal,” said Kyrgios, who was famously seen in the Dog & Fox pub in 2019. “My agent had to come get me out before I played my match on Centre Court Wimbledon. I've come a long way, that's for sure.”
Kyrgios also admitted that he deliberately lost serve in the final game of the fourth set against Nakashima in order to disturb the 20-year-old’s rhythm at the start of the final set.
The tactic was inspired by Muhammad Ali’s world heavyweight title victory against George Foreman in the 1974 ‘Rumble in the Jungle’ when he famously lay on the ropes for much of the fight before delivering an eight round knockout.
“At the end of the fourth, complete rope-a-dope tactic,” said Kyrgios. “I just threw away that service game. I knew he was in a rhythm. He was starting to get on top of me. I kind of just wanted to throw him off a little bit. It worked.” Kyrgios, who was told by a fan to “stop moaning” during the game when he was unhappy with a line-call, was generally again warmly supported. He was planning to celebrate his quarter-final place with a glass of wine. “I was telling people back home that I wanted to go for the title this year,” he said.