Nick Kyrgios has been harassed over his outfit choice after advancing to his first grand slam quarter-final for seven years with an impressive five-set victory over America’s Brandon Nakashima.
The Aussie was at his mature and tactical best as he overcame shoulder pain to dispatch the rising star 4-6 6-4 7-6 (7-2) 3-6 6-2 in the round of 16 at Wimbledon.
You can watch Kyrgios’ fiery post-match moment in the video above
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But while he managed to sidestep any controversial moments during the match, one journalist at his post-match press conference quickly made it known that he had broken one of Wimbledon’s most sacred rules.
The official rulebook reads: “Competitors must be dressed in suitable tennis attire that is almost entirely white and this applies from the point at which the player enters the court surround. White does not include off white or cream.”
The rule applies to everything including shoelaces, any visible undergarments due to sweat, and any bandages.
Kyrgios criticised the long-standing rule in his introductory press conference, saying tournament organisers were out of touch with what looks “cool” on the court.
Late on Monday night (AEST), the Canberran turned his rebelliousness up a notch as he strolled onto the court to face the 20-year-old American wearing a pair of red shoes.
He then wore a red cap and red shoes for his on-court interview, although he wore a fully white kit during the match.
The apparent lack of respect for the tournament’s dress code rules clearly riled up a local UK journalist, whose frustrations were evident as he questioned the 27-year-old over the outfit choice.
“Nick, it’s interesting your comments earlier about the controversy that seems to materialise around you and we all know that the Wimbledon dress rules are very strict,” the journalist said.
“‘Competitors must be dressed in suitable dress attire that’s almost entirely white’ and this implies the moment the player enters the court surrounds.
“Why then would you walk onto Centre Court with bright red shoes and do an interview in a red cap?”
The resultant back-and-forth left a seriously tense mood in the room, with the moderator forced to step in to cool down the argument.
Kyrgios: Because I do what I want.
Reporter: So you’re above the rules?
Kyrgios: No. I’m not above the rules.
Reporter: So what is it? They don’t apply to you?
Kyrgios: I just like wearing my Jordans (red shoes).
Reporter: But there are rules specifically against that. I don’t want to spoil the surprise but the referee’s going to be speaking to you about it.
Kyrgios: That’s OK. I’ll wear some triple whites tomorrow.
Reporter: But that’s fine then. No one else, in both draws, wears …
Kyrgios: But no one else – even after Wimbledon – no one else really walks with Jordans on the court.
Moderator: OK this is over.
Reporter: Sorry, but Nick has just moaned about the controversy that surrounds him.
Kyrgios: I haven’t moaned. I love it.
Reporter: So you just laugh it off then?
Kyrgios: Yeah, it’s just more attention for me. What’s that saying? Any publicity is good publicity, right?
Reporter: If you say so.
Kyrgios: Keep doing you then champion.
Other reporters in the room then laughed out loud over Kyrgios’ dismissal of the frustrated journalist.
The Aussie had earlier revealed how he’s laughing off the criticism of his antics coming from all corners during this tournament.
Talking of the criticism he’s come in for over his behaviour in the Stefanos Tsitsipas match, which cost him another $US4000 ($A5800) fine from the All England Club and a verbal mauling from the likes of Pat Cash, he just shrugged: “It’s so funny.
“I joke around with my team about it so much. It’s hilarious. I almost just wake up and read things, and I just laugh,” he said.
“I have a massive chip on my shoulder. Like I sit here now in quarter-finals Wimbledon again, and I just know there’s so many people that are so upset.”
With the tough but eminently beatable Chilean world No.43 Cristian Garin awaiting him in Wednesday’s quarters, and a potential reunion with his old foe Rafael Nadal looming in the semis, Kyrgios is not hiding how he really fancies his chances.
“I was telling people back home that I wanted to go for the title this year round,” he told reporters.
But there are a lot, including the cheering centre court crowd, who couldn’t be happier to see the great entertainer at the sharp end of the tournament again for the first time since he was a teenage debutant terrorising Rafael Nadal.
They recognised that, after all the sound and fury of the Tsitsipas clash, Kyrgios had battled through with barely a peep of controversy – but a whole heap of pure heart.
The shoulder injury, which cropped up on Sunday after the Tsitsipas match, became problematic again at the end of the first set against Nakashima, a big-serving, confident 20-year-old who gave him all the trouble he could handle.
After Kyrgios had been treated three times on court and Nakashima had fought back to the verge of levelling, Kyrgios reckoned he deliberately let the American win a careless final game in the fourth set to “rope-a-dope” him into losing his rhythm.
It worked beautifully as Kyrgios then took control of the final stanza to set up the inviting Garin tie.
And how he enjoyed himself.
“That’s probably the first time in my career where I wasn’t playing well, I was able to just say to myself, ‘Wow, look how far I’ve come’. I really just smiled to myself,” he mused.
“To sit here, quarter-finals of Wimbledon, feeling good, feeling composed, feeling mature. I’m extremely blessed.
“I feel like I’m just comfortable in my own skin,” he said, pondering the glass of wine he was going to enjoy in the evening.
– With AAP’s Ian Chadband