Rafael Nadal’s mentor escalates simmering feud

The simmering tension between Rafael Nadal and Nick Kyrgios has escalated again after the Spanish champion’s mentor went rogue.

Rafael Nadal on Thursday made a determined move to pour water on his simmering tension with Aussie Nick Kyrgios.

His uncle and mentor Toni, didn’t get the memo.

Nadal’s former coach overshadowed the Spanish champion’s attempt to move on from his heated Acapulco squabble with Kyrgios by declaring Kyrgios “has been disrespectful too many times”.

Kyrgios knocked Nadal out at the Mexico Open in a three-hour blockbuster last week.

Nadal appeared to take offence when Kyrgios complained about the 17-time grand slam champion’s refusal to play at the speed of the server, while Kyrgios was serving in the tense third-set tiebreak.

He went on to declare Kyrgios “lacks respect” in his post-match press conference.

Kyrgios responded minutes later by saying he would not be paying any attention to Nadal’s advice.

Kyrgios also took to social media to take an odd jab at Nadal by posting on Instagram that he could “smell the blood when I play this dude”.

What a week.Source:AFP

Nadal tried to move on from the flashpoint on Thursday when he said he has immense respect for Kyrgios, and clarified his comments towards his 23-year-old opponent.

However, that attempt was at odds with Toni Nadal’s fresh criticism of Kyrgios.

“Rafa is totally right,” Toni Nadal told Spanish sports broadcaster Radio Marca.

“He lacks education and smartness.

“He should be fighting for the top rankings and instead, he is No. 40.

“He does not look like a bad guy but he has been disrespectful too many times to get back on track.”

Nadal told reporters at the Indian Wells Masters that he thought his comments towards Kyrgios in Mexico may have been taken out of context while being translated from Spanish to English.

“I never said nothing too negative about Nick, even if he took it more personally,” Nadal said, adding that his comments had nothing to do with the underarm serve, which didn’t make him feel disrespected at all.

Rafael Nadal does not have fond memories of Acapulco, 2019.

Rafael Nadal does not have fond memories of Acapulco, 2019.Source:AP

“I understand this part of the game and I think it’s a good show for the game, but there’s other stuff in my opinion he can do better,” Nadal said, adding that he feared Kyrgios’s attitude sets a bad example for younger players.

“Everybody is free to do whatever they want, but at end of the day, in my opinion, he has an impact on the new generations,” Nadal said.

“He’s young, he’s a famous player and in my opinion we need to show good values for the kids.”

Kyrgios, who jumped 39 places in the rankings to 33 in the world, said last week he wasn’t interested in Nadal’s opinion.

“I heard that he took it very personally,” Nadal said.

“I really didn’t see it but somebody told me he put some stuff on his social networks.”