SYDNEY • Nick Kyrgios questioned Dominic Thiem's intellect yesterday after the world No. 3 told him to stop slamming fellow tennis players Alexander Zverev and Novak Djokovic for taking risks amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The outspoken Australian said Thiem was not on the same "intellectual level" after the Austrian called his criticism "cheap" and claimed it was just "bad luck" that Zverev was caught partying after promising to self-isolate.
Djokovic, Grigor Dimitrov, Borna Coric and Viktor Troicki all tested positive for the Covid-19 disease after last month's Adria Tour, which also featured Thiem and Zverev.
The final of the exhibition series, which was held in Serbia and Croatia and had minimal social distancing in place, had to be cancelled due to the virus.
In response, Kyrgios, who has been a vocal opponent of top-level tennis returning next month while the pandemic rages on, slammed Djokovic and Co for being lax.
Earlier this week, Thiem told German media that Kyrgios, who is never far from controversy with his on-court temper tantrums and feuds with his peers, was no saint.
He said: "Kyrgios has really done a lot of nonsense himself. That's why I understand even less when he interferes everywhere.
"It would be better for him to come clean instead of always criticising others."
Kyrgios addressed Thiem, tweeting him directly: "What are you talking about? Mistakes like smashing rackets? Swearing? Tanking a few matches here or there? Which everyone does? None of you have the intellectual level to even understand where I'm coming from. I'm trying to hold them accountable.
"This just shows what a joke Thiem, Zverev and Djokovic think this is, two of them partying like potatoes during a global pandemic.
"People losing lives, loved ones and friends, and then Thiem standing up for the 'mistake'. These guys are the 'top' of our sport. SMH (shaking my head)."
The ATP Tour is set to resume on Aug 14 with the Citi Open after a five-month stoppage, with the US Open scheduled for Aug 31.
However, it remains to be seen if the game's top players will be at Flushing Meadows as the stringent safety measures are a bugbear.
Rafael Nadal said on Tuesday he will take part in the Madrid Open, raising doubts about whether he intends to defend his US Open title as the clay-court event starts on Sept 14, just a day after the hard-court Grand Slam concludes.
Djokovic, who resumed training on Tuesday, told a Serbian newspaper Sportski Zurnal yesterday that he still was not sure if he would play the US Open.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS