New York, Sep 5 (IANS) Controversial Australian tennis player Nick Kyrgios who paired up with Canadian Eugenie Bouchard in the mixed doubles at the ongoing US Open had tongues wagging with what most perceived to be a highly flirtatious performance in their opening round match.
A couple of weeks ago, Kyrgios had jibed at Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka during a match in Montreal saying: “(Thanasi) Kokkinakis banged your girlfriend. Sorry to tell you that, mate.”
The 20-year-old was given a suspended 28-day ban and fined $25,000 by the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP), to be imposed should he transgress again.
The Kyrgios-Bouchard pair constantly chatted and giggled both on-court and during the change of ends and also fought over towels.
Kyrgios, 20, was spotted placing his hand on Bouchard’s back after one game, was asked to help fix her necklace and went in for a celebratory hug after they won, reports news.com.au.
The duo came from a set down to defeat Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina and New Zealand’s Artem Sitak 5-7, 6-3, 10-3 in a tie-breaker.
The laughs and flirting continued in the post-match on court interview, where Kyrgios took the blame for dropping the first set.
“She was very forgiving for me in the first set, obviously I think I let her down a little bit. But it was a lot of fun,” Kyrgios said.
“The crowd was awesome and she was a lot of fun. She had a tough (singles) match today so to even come out here and put on a performance like that is pretty impressive. I’d probably give us an A+,” he added.
When asked by the interviewer how the pairing came about, Bouchard said: “You can ask him.”
Kyrgios said: “I asked her. There were a lot of people involved, of course. She’s a very hard person to get in touch with these days. But when I had the opportunity to play with her I thought it would be a good idea, a lot of fun. I’m glad she accepted.”
Bouchard later described the experience as “super fun”.
“He’s just really like a funny guy. That’s probably why I’m extra tired now because I was just laughing all the time,” she said.
Bouchard revealed she had also pulled Kyrgios’s notorious on court temper into line. She’d been seen on court waving her finger at Kyrgios.
“He was getting frustrated with himself a bit. I think he was about to, you know, throw his racquet or say a bad word and get his suspension thing. I’m like — no you’re not. Don’t do it. It’s not worth it,” Bouchard said after the match.
When asked about their off-court friendship, Bouchard said, “Yeah, I just think he’s really nice. You know, obviously we talk a bit more now since we’re playing mixed doubles.”
She said the pair had “never hung out”. Then added, “I just think he’s so funny and interesting and he’s good for the game. So I support him. He’s nice and humble.”
Twitter users watching the game felt there was a bit more going on.
“Bouchard and Kyrgios’ mixed doubles match feels more like a first date. Sexual tension through the roof,” Wendy Yeung tweeted.
“Kyrgios/Bouchard playing mixed doubles at the Open tonight. So much flirting I thought I was watching The Bachelor by mistake,” Scott Welsh tweeted.
“Watching Kyrgios/Bouchard is like watching an absolute train wreck of a reality show,” Jonathan Newman wrote.
“Looks to be some serious chemistry between Kyrgios and Bouchard,” Peter Elder said.