Nick Kyrgios wasn’t going to cop Bartoli’s criticism quietly.
Nick Kyrgios wasn’t going to cop Bartoli’s criticism quietly.

Kyrgios trashes female Wimbledon champ

NICK Kyrgios has hit back at Marion Bartoli after the former Wimbledon champion labelled the controversial Australian "pathetic" and accused him of squandering his talent.

Bartoli, who won Wimbledon five years ago, said Kyrgios and France's Gael Monfils were wasting their huge potential because of bad attitudes.

Kyrgios has been in trouble for his immature behaviour on and off the court several times in his short career.

In a stinging blast, the Frenchwoman said Kyrgios's work ethic was "just not good enough to win a grand slam", and  it was "pathetic" to see the 23-year-old and Monfils failing to apply themselves in the right way.

"It seems like they can't grow up, they can't become men and they can't take charge of their own lives," Bartoli said.

"I truly hope Nick will be able to get it together at some point. I don't know what he needs. He's going to waste his life if he keeps on acting like that."

Kyrgios, who faces Japan's Kei Nishikori in the Wimbledon third round on Saturday night, gave a furious response to Bartoli's jibes, defending himself and Monfils, who reached the fourth round on Friday.

Gael Monfils has also been accused of wasting his talent. Picture: Getty
Gael Monfils has also been accused of wasting his talent. Picture: Getty

"Yesterday @bartolimarion had to say some nice things about @iamgaelmonfils and myself," Kyrgios wrote on Instagram.

"They're 'pathetic children', they 'can't become men', 'wasting their life' - who are you to judge the way we go about things?

"Who are you to tell us how to do things, when u (sic) have no idea what we've been through?

"Stop assuming you know what's best for others when you think you've had a little success.

"We get it, we know you have to remain relevant, but I'll give you a heads up, we don't care what you have to say."

Monfils also made clear his disdain for Bartoli when asked about her comments following his Centre Court win over Sam Querrey.

"It's easy to criticise people when you don't know them. So I won't even pay any attention," he said.

The "best backhand in the world" stands between Kyrgios and his now customary place in the business week at Wimbledon.

While a warm favourite to advance to the last 16 at the All England Club for the fourth time in five years, Kyrgios knows he must up the ante from his first two matches, relatively cruisy encounters against Denis Istomin and Robin Haase.

"Kei is a guy I've never had a win against before. Incredibly tough," the 15th seed said.

"Grass is probably his least favourite surface, but he's capable on all surfaces. He's a nightmare. He's a great returner. Takes time away."

Bernard Tomic learnt as much this week when the Japanese superstar reversed two straight losses to Kyrgios's countryman with a four-set win to rob fans of a much-anticipated all-Australian third-round encounter.

Australia's Bernard Tomic has great respect for the talents of Japan's Kei Nishikori. Picture: Chris Hyde/Getty Images.
Australia's Bernard Tomic has great respect for the talents of Japan's Kei Nishikori. Picture: Chris Hyde/Getty Images.

"Kei's an unbelievable player," Tomic said in a warning to Kyrgios, even if he hardly needs reminding after losing to Nishikori in all three previous meetings - two on hardcourt and once on clay.

"Best backhand in the world, he returns (among the) top three in the world and he's serving good. He's serving a lot better now.

"He's playing well and is a world-class player.

"This is a maybe a slam he hasn't done well at. He's only reached the fourth round a couple of times but I think if he plays good like this he can go deep."

Nishikori has claimed the underdog card against a player boasting 159 aces in his past six matches.

'He is such a big server and I don't know how much I can return his serve," the Japanese said.

"But I believe that I would have chance to win if I could bring many points into long exchanges and rallies.

"His ground strokes are not as big as his serve and he is a type of player that plays a little bit more carefully in rallies."

Kyrgios accepts he must control his emotions in order to survive what shapes as his sternest test yet of his title credentials.

"It's hard for me to find the balance sometimes," he said after receiving a code violation for swearing against Haase and who also engaged in a running verbal battle with officials.

"When I'm in a calm place with a lot of energy, I think that's when I play my best tennis.

"Yeah, it could help my game."

A breakthrough win over Nishikori, the 24th seed this year, would leave Kyrgios facing either German fourth seed Alexander Zverev or big-hitting Latvian qualifier Ernests Gulbis for a quarter-final berth.

- with Darren Walton, AAP

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