Why are Nick Kyrgios and Boris Becker fighting? Who is the rat and who is the doughnut?

Could it be true that Australia’s outspoken tennis star is the voice of reason on coronavirus? Mike Hytner explains it to Gabrielle Jackson … quickly

Nick Kyrgios and Boris Becker




Nick Kyrgios and Boris Becker have been trading barbs on Twitter over tennis’s response to coronavirus.
Composite: Alex Gottschalk/DeFodi Images via Getty Images; Hannah McKay/Reuters

Mike, I’m hearing some vague murmurings about Nick Kyrgios and Boris Becker, rats and doughnuts. Sounds intriguing. What’s going on?

It’s just another day in the bizarre world that is post-Covid tennis Twitter. Australia’s most outspoken and entertaining tennis star has attracted a strong rebuke on the socials from the German six-time grand slam champion after Kyrgios aired his views about how some in tennis have responded to the coronavirus crisis – recklessly and selfishly, in Nick’s view.

Reckless and selfish? Sounds like some world leaders I know. Tell me more.

Alex Zverev, the German world No 7, was filmed partying at a crowded bar on the Côte d’Azur, apparently just six days after he vowed to be a good boy and self-isolate following the debacle of Novak Djokovic’s Adria Tour event.

Debacle?

In the absence of competitive tennis, the world No 1 organised an unofficial charity event involving some of the best players in the world. Djokovic’s intentions were said to have been well-meaning but, given the timing in the context of the pandemic, the tournament attracted criticism, not least from Kyrgios (who called the decision to hold it “boneheaded”). Anyway, perhaps unsurprisingly, it didn’t end well – the tournament was cancelled before it was completed as four players tested positive.

Was Djokovic one of them?

Again, it’s hardly surprising, but he was. The Serb has previously indicated he is against a Covid-19 vaccine, and he showed a disregard for social distancing during the tournament, when he and other players were filmed in close proximity, hugging each other and even dancing, shirtless of course, on stage in a crowded nightclub.

I hope he and others are OK?

Yes, at this point Djokovic, Brna Coric, Grigor Dimitrov and Viktor Troicki are all fine. Others involved in the tournament also tested positive but Zverev was lucky – his results came back negative. He still expressed regret at having taken part. “I deeply apologise to anyone that I have put at risk … I will proceed to follow self-isolating guidelines … stay safe,” he vowed.

Let me guess … he didn’t?

He might have done for five days, but he was unable to sustain that level of self-restraint for a sixth. Kyrgios was fuming when he awoke to the images from the French bar, and responded with an Instagram video. “How selfish can you be?” he asked. Twice, to reinforce the point.

So, um, Kyrgios is the “rat”?

If you believe that “holding someone accountable”, as Kyrgios puts it, amid a global pandemic is the behaviour of a rat, then yes. Certainly that’s the view of Becker. “Don’t like no #rats ! Anybody telling off fellow sportsman/woman is no friend of mine! Look yourself in the mirror and think your better than us…@NickKyrgios @farfetch,” Becker wrote.

Who is @farfetch?

No idea but Twitter wits are on the case.

Lee
(@lee_tennis)

I’m more interested in the role of Farfetch in all of this. The great mystery! pic.twitter.com/3JsSt1ZvRR

June 30, 2020

Lee
(@lee_tennis)

Boris, WHY do you keep tagging farfetch in your tweets about Nick being a rat? I’m genuinely curious. Is this a new sponsorship?

June 30, 2020

Carlos Molinari
(@tennisinsider2)

I spent 30 minutes going thru @farfetch trying to find the connection to all this

June 30, 2020

Lee
(@lee_tennis)

I know how I’ll be spending my next two weeks, given the Wimbledon cancellation.

June 30, 2020

And who’s the doughnut then?

That would be Becker. “Boris Becker is a bigger doughnut than I thought. Can hit a volley, obviously not the sharpest tool in the shed though,” was Kyrgios’s response as the spat escalated.

So what you’re telling me then is … Nick Kyrgios might not be the biggest doughnut in this scenario?

He absolutely is not. Indeed, Kyrgios has been the voice of reason during the pandemic while others around him have been losing the plot. He could well emerge from this as a true champion. Certainly, he’s claiming victory in this particular rubber against Becker. “Haha nah bro I’m good, don’t act like you’re my friend now because you got sat down,” Kyrgios wrote.

Time for Zverev to serve up another apology?

After his first heartfelt apology, the German has perhaps wisely decided to stay silent so far, neither confirming nor denying the timing of the nightclub escapade. It may remain one of tennis’s abiding mysteries.

Like the broom cupboard?

Not going there.