Kyrgios slammed by new tennis king
He's stolen Nick Kyrgios's nickname and position as the most exciting young gun in tennis - and that's just the start of Felix Auger-Aliassime's assault on the Aussie star.
The Canadian teen is preparing to announce himself to the world at Wimbledon next month as he closes on the ATP top 20 despite having never even won a grand slam match.
That's how good his form has been on tour in 2019, including a giant-killing run at Queen's this week which saw him defeat Grigor Dimitrov, Kyrgios and Stefanos Tsitsipas on his way to a semi-final against Feliciano Lopez on Saturday night (AEST).
His match against Kyrgios included the standard bratty behaviour from the Australian bad boy but his younger rival kept his cool to win 6-7 7-6 7-5.
"He makes you experience a little bit of everything. He shows you a little bit of everything. It's difficult to stay in the match," he said.
'I COULD NEVER BE FRIENDS WITH HIM'
While complimentary of Kyrgios' game, Auger-Aliassime didn't hold back when commenting on Kyrgios the man.
"I think he's a good tennis player, but I could never be friends or close to a person like that," he said in a French-speaking interview with Tennis Life Media.
"All I have to say, really, about a person like that is that I admire what he does on the court. He's a very good player. His tennis qualities are incredible.
"Beyond that, if I wasn't a tennis player - for example, if we knew each other at school or whatever - he's not someone I would be friends with or hang out with. So you have to look at two things. There's the tennis player, and there's the person. I don't really feel like associating with a person like that."
Auger-Aliassime has earned the nickname King Felix during his first year on tour, stealing the moniker Kyrgios has used as his Instagram handle.
He's ranked 18 places higher in the world and became the youngest player to reach the semi-finals of the Queen's Club championships since Lleyton Hewitt 20 years ago.
After defeating world No. 6 Tsitsipas 7-5 6-2 he became the youngest player since Hewitt in 1999 to break into the top-25 and earned amazing praise from the Greek young gun, who made his own daring run to the semis of the Australian Open this year.
TSITSIPAS: 'HE'S BETTER THAN ME'
Tsitsipas, only 20 himself, said it was concerning to have a youngster on tour capable of dominating him.
"It does worry me. It's upsetting obviously that he's better than me," he said. "I have to accept that he's better than me. I might never beat him, but if I think that way, just need to wait, years maybe, for that chance to come.
"He has the whole package to play big. I'm sure if he ever gets the difficult chance to play (Rafa) Nadal, Djokovic, or Federer, he's going to beat them, for sure. I will not be surprised if he gets wins over those guys. We will definitely see him in the Top 5. Maybe not this year, but next year or the year after."
Tsitsipas said Auger-Aliassime's game was already complete. "He has one of the best returns on the tour. He has a really powerful, accurate serve, which is tough to read. He's really quick and fast, which is rare to find all of those together, combined. Big forehand, big backhand. He can create a lot of opportunities from his backhand, but also, at the same time, he can be very aggressive from the forehand side," Tsitsipas said. "There's not much to come up with when you play against him. He's pretty much solid from everywhere."
Meantime, Kyrgios was fined $25,000 for his controversial behaviour over two rounds at the tournament.
The 24-year-old, who last month was disqualified from the Italian Open for throwing a chair across court, accused a line-judge of "match-rigging" during his first round match with Roberto Carballes Baena over what he thought was a poor line call.
He threatened to walk off court before resuming and winning the match, although not before making fun of umpire Fergus Murphy's hat and seemingly losing interest in his match by peering over the fence to watch another.
Kyrgios had not calmed down by the time he confronted Auger-Aliassime later on Thursday.
The ATP supervisor ruled Kyrgios should be fined $7,500 for two separate counts of unsportsmanlike behaviour in the first round match and $10,000 for his behaviour in the Auger-Aliassime clash.
Kyrgios also lashed out at a press conference accusing the ATP of double standards with no punishment for officials who make bad calls.