Big-hitting Australian Nick Kyrgios did not take too kindly to some of the questions directed to him ahead of his round of 32 match against the returning Andy Murray at Queen’s tomorrow.
Kyrgios, notoriously willing to say exactly what is on his mind, was seemingly perturbed when asked whether he would play an exhibition ‘hotdog’ (otherwise known as a ‘between-the-legs’) shot against his British opponent.
Sardonically replying: 'You can’t win Wimbledon by doing that,' Kyrgios was presumably unhappy with the flippant nature of the question presented to him.
With his reputation perhaps preceding him, it is not unfair to assume that the Australian makes himself an easy target to journalistic prodding, such is the inevitable frankness of his response to questioning.
Despite his bad-boy reputation, Kyrgios has serious designs on winning a major title in his career, and undoubtedly has the talent, if not the temperament, to do so.
Kyrgios did not hold back when presented with the closing question of the press conference either.
Asked to explain a comment perceived to have been ‘can’t do it anymore’ earlier in the day when practicing with Davis Cup captain Lleyton Hewitt earlier in the day, Kyrgios showed no let up for his unfortunate inquisitor.
Contradicting the recollection of the journalist posing the question, Kyrgios replied:
"You have asked two terrible questions. When Lleyton [Hewitt] hit a winner, I said: ‘He doesn't have that anymore.’
"You've had an absolute shocker," he concluded.
Clearly trying to question the focus of Kyrgios by suggesting that he could not handle the hitting of the retired Hewitt, the Aussie’s response was perfect in setting the record straight.
The cheeky dig at Hewitt’s advancing age, and his own inability to return the former US Open and Wimbledon champion’s shots, was clearly not worthy of a serious question, and the irritation displayed by Kyrgios is understandable.
The Australian's opponent, Andy Murray, will be making his first appearance in competitive tennis for almost a year, his last showing being at the Wimbledon 2017 quarter-final stage against American Sam Querrey.
Hip surgery followed in January, and the two-time Wimbledon champion has endured a tortuous, but necessary, absence since.
A difficult welcome back to the ATP tour awaits him with the powerful Kyrgios on the other side of the net tomorrow, but Murray will welcome the opportunity to test his troublesome hip upon his long overdue return.
Murray has won a record five Queen’s titles in his career, the grass-court tournament being an important warm-up event for the big one, Wimbledon, which starts on July 2.
For Kyrgios, win or lose, expect some fireworks on and off the court.