Nick Kyrgios shows off his Kobe Bryant sleeve tattoo during explosive five-set Wimbledon clash – before ‘ridiculous’ rule leaves him stranded as infuriated crowd boo
- Nick Kyrgios showed off his detailed sleeve tattoo of Kobe Bryant on his forearm
- The late NBA legend is a hero to Kyrgios, who wore his jersey while getting inked
- Play on Court One ended on Tuesday night with the scores at 6-4 4-6 3-6 6-1 3-3
- Kyrgios was heard shouting that the pitch was ‘too slow’ and ‘not a turf anymore’
- The Australian levelled the match from two sets to one down in the SW19 epic
Nick Kyrgios flaunted his Kobe Bryant sleeve tattoo during an explosive five-set thriller in the first round at Wimbledon before a ‘ridiculous’ rule led to boos from the crowd.
But just as the match was bubbling to a climax, time was called due to Wimbledon’s strict 11pm curfew – prompting the tournament referee to enter the stadium and tell the players their match would have to resume the following day.
It robbed fans of a conclusion to an absorbing contest in which Kyrgios began well, then went off the boil, before hitting back strongly. When play was suspended the score was 6-4 4-6 3-6 6-1 3-3.
The infuriating decision prompted a chorus of boos and jeers from the unsatisfied crowd, with fed-up fans at home taking to social media to blast the ‘ridiculous’ rule.
But it was Kyrgios’ new sleeve tattoo of the late NBA legend Kobe Bryant that captured fans’ attention.
Nick Kyrgios flaunted his sleeve tattoo (on his right arm) during an explosive five-set thriller at Wimbledon
Kyrgios enlisted the work of esteemed tattoo artist David Chavez, who worked on the Aussie star in his home to create the piece
During January 2020’s Australian Open, the 26-year-old walked onto Rod Laver Arena in tears wearing Bryant’s LA Lakers jersey in tribute to the star who had died days earlier in a freak helicopter accident.
‘That was a special moment for me, basketball’s my life. I play tennis but I follow basketball every day. But for me personally I struggled a lot, I was crying when I was walking out on court that day,’ Kyrgios said in a video on Instagram at the time.
A few months later the tennis bad boy debuted a photo of his new ink on Instagram with the caption: ‘Kobe and the King with me forever & some Jordan 1s’.
The acronym GOAT – which stands for greatest of all time – is inked underneath the image of Bryant’s face on Kyrgios’ forearm.
Kyrgios enlisted the work of esteemed artist David Chavez, who worked on the Aussie star in his home to create the piece.
Bryant is a hero to Kyrgios, who wore his jersey while getting inked.
‘I definitely wanted to get something in memory of him,’ Kyrgios said. ‘We can never really emulate what he did but there can be moments where we can try.’
Tennis fans have seen little of Kyrgios’ new ink, with the mercurial Australian tennis star only playing just one Grand Slam to avoid travelling during the pandemic.
Last year Kyrgios debuted a photo of his new ink on Instagram with the caption: ‘Kobe and the King with me forever & some Jordan 1s’
During January 2020’s Australian Open, the 26-year-old walked onto Rod Laver Arena in tears wearing Bryant’s LA Lakers jersey in tribute to the star, who died days earlier in a freak helicopter accident
Kyrgios will resume play with the Frenchman (above) with the score at 6-4 4-6 3-6 6-1 3-3
Kyrgios and Humbert were switched to Court One under the roof after rain delays but the match could not finish as the tournament’s 11pm curfew came into force.
Considering the lack of play Kyrgios has had in the last 18 months because of the pandemic, he produced some sizzling tennis, but could not hide his frustration at the grass surface.
‘For those of you guys at home right now, this should be fast. It’s grass court tennis,’ Kyrgios said, addressing the courtside camera at a changeover. ‘This is slow. It’s slow.
‘They made it slow. It’s not turf anymore, it’s a joke.’
It did not stop him thundering down four successive aces as he roared back in the fourth set.
The Australian tennis bad boy complained that the pitch was ‘slow’ and it was ‘not turf anymore’