Australian gun Nick Kyrgios has again challenged the way he’s perceived by the tennis world, asking fans how long he’d be banned from the sport if he emulated world #1 Novak Djokovic by pinging a tennis ball into a linesperson’s throat.
Djokovic was disqualified from the US Open early Monday morning after the accident, which saw the men’s world #1 accidentally slap a ball in the direction of a line judge’s neck.
Tour officials ruled Djokovic struck the ball “dangerously or recklessly… with negligent disregard for the consequences,” and docked the ranking points and prize money he earned during the tournament.
It’s a hefty penalty – but Kyrgios, who has long battled the perception that he’s a bad egg in the tennis community, thinks he would have copped an even sterner response.
Taking to Twitter, Kyrgios posed a hypothetical. If he were in Djokovic’s shoes and accidentally hit a “ball kid in the throat”, how long would he be barred from the pro circuit? Five years? Ten? Twenty?
Swap me for jokers incident. ‘Accidentally hitting the ball kid in the throat’ how many years would I be banned for?
— Nicholas Kyrgios (@NickKyrgios) September 6, 2020
At time of writing, and after nearly 60,000 votes, most respondents said they think Kyrgios would be banned for 20 years. See you in 2040, mate.
This is hardly the first time Kyrgios has cited Djokovic to reflect what he sees as double standards in the tennis world.
Earlier this year, Kyrgios criticised tennis players who refused to self-isolate during the coronavirus pandemic (Kyrgios also declined to enter this year’s US Open, citing ongoing concerns about public health at home and abroad.)
One of those players was Djokovic, who tested positive for COVID-19 during his own exhibition tour.
“Don’t @ me for anything I’ve done that has been ‘irresponsible’ or classified as ‘stupidity’ – this takes the cake,” Kyrgios said at the time.