Nick Kyrgios delivered a dirty sledge to Stanislas Wawrinka midweek, now Thanasi Kokkinakis has been met with threats of violence by American pro Ryan Harrison in a heated on-court clash.
In his first match since being implicated in compatriot Nick Kyrgios’ own brand of verbal vitriol, directed at French Open champ Wawrinka, Kokkinakis and Harrison had to be separated by tournament officials after their tight qualifying encounter in Cincinnati.
Tensions between the 19-year-old Australian and 23-year-old American bubbled over during the match, won by Kokkinakis 7-5 3-6 7-6 (7-2).
Post-match, Harrison told the chair umpire “You have got to get these kids under control or they’re gonna get hurt.”
While Kokkinakis could be heard telling the tournament referee: “I’ve done nothing to disrespect him and he’s giving me that.”
According to witnesses, during the match Harrison shouted: “Your whole crew is just so cool” at Kokkinakis, referencing last week’s drama.
New York Times tennis journalist Ben Rothenberg quoted Harrison as threatening violence against the rising South Australian.
“If he wants to get into it, I will bury him. Wawrinka should’ve decked Kyrgios, and I should deck that kid,” Rothenberg quoted Harrison as saying.
Harrison received a warning for unsportsmanlike conduct, prompting Kokkinakis to say: “Should’ve happened a long time ago,” according to Rothenberg.
The Aussie teen then told Harrison: “Don’t sledge me mate, don’t sledge me, it’s not cool”.
In his three-set win over Wawrinka, Kyrgios infamously told the Swiss star “Kokkinakis banged your girlfriend, sorry to tell you that mate.”
Kyrgios was forced to apologise, was fined US$10,000 for the slur and condemned by high-ranking peers including Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal.
In the fall-out from the sledge, Australian Davis Cup captain Wally Masur said Kyrgios was still a part of his plans for Australia’s semi-final tie with Great Britain next month.
But on Sunday, he qualified his statement, saying Kyrgios’ future behaviour was likely to impact his selection.
“No decision has been made on the team yet,” Masur said.
“Misogyny has no place in society and Nick’s comments are incongruous with the standards expected of a professional athlete and a role model in our community.
“Those who have the honour to represent their country must display the highest professional and ethical standards.”
Kokkinakis will continue his effort to qualify for the prestigious US Open lead-up event against Turkish world No.84 Marsel Ilhan.
In the main draw, Kyrgios was handed a rematch with his Wimbledon conqueror Richard Gasquet, while Bernard Tomic will play a qualifier to set up a potential second-round meeting with world No.4 Kei Nishikori.