In any other summer, Tuesday would have been a rain-affected, stop-start day at Wimbledon. But in the absence of any official live tennis, the tennis world had to make do with a spicy online rally between former great Boris Becker and Australian maverick Nick Kyrgios.
Becker called Kyrgios a “rat” for breaking the code of locker-room omerta, while Kyrgios responded that Becker was a “doughnut” and “not the sharpest tool in the shed”.
Becker began the exchange on Tuesday morning when he spoke out in support of his fellow German Alexander Zverev, whom Kyrgios had dubbed “selfish” for partying in a French beach bar only a week after he had been in contact with Covid-19 sufferers as part of the Adria Tour fiasco.
"Don't like no rats!” exclaimed Becker on his Twitter page. “Anybody telling off fellow sportsman/woman is no friend of mine! Look yourself in the mirror and think you're better than us...@NickKyrgios"
The conversation continued as follows. First Kyrgios replied: "For goodness sake Boris, I'm not competing or trying to throw anyone under the bus. It's a global pandemic and if someone is as idiotic as Alex to do what he has done, I'll call him out for it. Simple."
Then Becker replied: "We all live in the pandemic called Covid-19! It's terrible and it killed too many lives...we should protect our families/loved ones and follow the guidelines but still don't like rats."
Kyrgios: "Rats? For holding someone accountable? Strange way to think of it champion, I'm just looking out for people. WHEN my family and families all over the world have respectfully done the right thing. And you have a goose waving his arms around, imma say something."
"@TheBorisBecker is a bigger doughnut than I thought. Can hit a volley, obviously not the sharpest tool in the shed though."
As the head of men’s tennis in Germany, Becker has a professional link with Zverev. But there has been tension in the relationship between Kyrgios and Zverev since at least last year’s Laver Cup, where Kyrgios kept performing press-ups on the sidelines as a mocking response to Zverev’s frequent double-faults.