Max Purcell has declined his latest opportunity to bite back at Australian Open doubles rival Nick Kyrgios after a war of words
Australian Open doubles finalist Max Purcell has attempted to diffuse his feud with Nick Kyrgios, who called his countryman “a donut” in response to perceived criticism.
Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis completed their unlikely title run with a 7-5 6-4 defeat of fellow Australians Purcell and Matt Ebden on Saturday night, following Ash Barty’s memorable triumph.
But the bigger talking point this past fortnight was the wild crowd behaviour at the Kyrgios-Kokkinakis matches, plus the angst it created among a series of opponents.
Purcell stoked the fire on social media last week, writing that the behaviour of Kyrgios and Kokkinakis was “extremely disrespectful to their opponents”.
That had already angered Purcell’s rivals, then his post-final comments riled Kyrgios further, even if they were directed at the crowd rather than the ‘Special Ks’.
“I think it was great for ticket sales here but I’m not so sure how it was taken overseas,” Purcell said.
“If you’re watching some of Nick and Thanasi’s matches earlier in the week and you’re overseas, maybe you get turned off tennis a little bit.
“The fact that we are Australian; I don’t think they went as hard on us as they have the rest of them. I’m grateful for that.”
Then Kyrgios launched viciously back at Purcell via his Instagram account on Sunday night, adding fuel to the off-court dispute.
“As for Max Purcell, you donut, regarding your comments after the match, you clearly have no idea about entertainment and sport,” Kyrgios posted.
“If you haven’t noticed, there is a reason why people actually come to my matches, it’s because the level and my game are actually worth watching.
“Next time you lose another slam final, you should just put your head down and try to figure out how to play the big points better.
“No need to slate other Aussies in the media cuz (sic) people would rather watch paint dry than your serve-and-volley game style.”
Kyrgios’ aggressive reply contrasted with Purcell’s follow-up on Triple M on Monday morning.
“They were bringing a lot to the sport, so I can’t take anything away from that,” Purcell said.
“They’re an exciting bloody pair to watch and play against, but I just think some of the crowds they were bringing weren’t quite respectful enough for their opponents.
“I’ve got nothing against them. When Matty and I are playing, we’re trying to get the crowd involved (as well), but I just think the crowd took it upon themselves to go a little too far.
“But I think it’s great for tennis … it’s promotion for the sport. Doubles isn’t exactly huge out there, so the more coverage we got, the better.
“It just would have been nice to see the crowd in earlier matches being a little more respectful.”
Purcell was grateful for the opportunity to play at night after Barty’s singles final rather than during the afternoon, as he did in his first Australian Open doubles decider two years ago.
“It’s definitely the biggest and loudest crowd I’ve ever played in front of,” he said.
“Thank god they were behaving themselves, for the most part, instead of all the other matches when they were supporting the other boys.”