Nadal responds to salty Kyrgios burn
Nick Kyrgios took the mickey out of Rafael Nadal during an on-court argument with a chair umpire during his early blitz of Gilles Simon on Thursday night.
Before all the fireworks of Kyrgios' third set meltdown and epic fourth set comeback in the 6-2 6-4 4-6 7-5 win, the 24-year-old was busy having fun at Nadal's expense.
Kyrgios angrily complained to umpire Jaume Campistol after he was hit with a code violation warning from out of the blue for time wasting as he served late in the second set.
Kyrgios was racing through to a two-sets-to-love lead with the match on his racquet when he took exception to the umpire's pedantic decision to slap him with a delay-of-game warning.
Kyrgios complained that he was already in his service action when the 20-second service clock expired.
When the umpire refused to see his point, Kyrgios took his grievance further by arguing that he was being unfairly targeted because his service action is shorter and more straightforward than rival Rafael Nadal, who has a notoriously fidgety and longwinded service action.
To drive his point home Kyrgios mimicked Nadal's iconic service action by pretending to push the hair back on both sides of his face and then proceeded to pretend to pick out a wedgie - as Nadal has done throughout his entire career.
Kyrgios' cheeky gesture brought about a smile from the chair umpire, but his code violation warning remained in place.
When Kyrgios sent down a booming ace on his next serve he turned to the official and roared before going on to claim the second set 6-4.
Tennis commentators around the world interpreted Kyrgios' cheeky act as a dig at Nadal - with the two superstars on a collision course for a fourth round showdown if they both win their next matches.
Nadal had his chance to respond to Kyrgios in his post-match press conference after winning through to the third round with a 6-3 7-6 6-1 victory over Argentina's Federico Delbonis.
But the Spaniard refused to fire back.
"I really don't care," Nadal said. "I am here to play tennis. I don't care at all. Was it funny? Good? That's it."
.@NickKyrgios not too happy at being called on a time violation...— Eurosport UK (@Eurosport_UK) January 23, 2020
Wonder who he's talking about here? 🤔
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Kyrgios just got a time violation warning during his service motion. This is what he did as he protested to the umpire: https://t.co/Q9rSGz6i2s— Tumaini Carayol (@tumcarayol) January 23, 2020
Kyrgios given a time violation on serve. His response? An ace AND an impersonation of Rafael Nadal pulling a wedgie out. Directed at the chair umpire. 🤣🤣🤣 Never a dull moment. 🙌🏻 #Tennis #AusOpen #NickKyrgios pic.twitter.com/XUd5KU2UH3— Catherine Murphy (@CathMurphySport) January 23, 2020
Kyrgios was able to calm down and secure an early break at the start of the third set as tennis legends Jim Courier, John McEnroe and Todd Woodbridge were debating the umpire's decision to give Kyrgios the warning.
Woodbridge said in commentary for Channel 9 that the umpire's decision was "insane".
Courier responded: "It is not even that. It is what the crowd said. That's a bad call.
"Really? That's the second bad call we have seen from the umpire."
Woodbridge went on to say the umpire "lacks feel, serious feel" for the game.
Simon also returned the favour when he lost a first serve for a second delay-of-game code violation in the third set where he also mimicked Nadal's service action.
Kyrgios and Campistol both laughed at Simon's joke with Kyrgios even giving the Frenchman a thumbs up.
Kyrgios wasn't laughing a few minutes later, asking Campistol if he was cracking the whip because he must have had a "date" he wanted to get to later in the evening.
Kyrgios also clashed earlier with the umpire after he showed impressive sportsmanship to award Simon a point when the umpire incorrectly ruled Simon failed to return a drop shot.
Simon raced to the ball and got his racquet underneath it, just before it bounced for a second time before he went on to win the point.
"Why did you say something during the point," Kyrgios complained.
"He was always going to get there. Bro, he's lightning."
Earlier, Simon was also hit with a time violation warning before the match even started when he failed to enter his service action before the conclusion of the one-minute warning before the start of the match.
Kyrgios went on to break serve in the opening game to love, leaving McEnroe to wonder if the penalty threw Simon off.
"I wonder if Simon was rattled at all by getting called for that time violation before he even played a point. That I haven't seen," he said.
Aussie legend John Newcombe said before Kyrgios' first round match that the No. 23 seed would be using his highly anticipated fourth-round showdown with Nadal as "motivation" for a deep run at Melbourne Park.
Nadal and Kyrgios have traded barbs ever since their heated clash in Mexico last year where Nadal suggested the Aussie "lacks respect" for tennis following his execution of underarm serves.