Nick Kyrgios post-match press conference moment goes viral, Ben Rothenberg
American journalist Ben Rothenberg was forced to speak about an “inappropriate and mortifying” moment during Saturday night’s post-match press conference with Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis.
In chaotic scenes at the Rod Laver Arena, the Australian duo toppled compatriots Matthew Ebden and Max Purcell in straight sets to secure the Australian Open men’s doubles title.
Kyrgios and Kokkinakis became fan favorites at Melbourne Park this week for their entertaining antics on the pitch, which grabbed global headlines.
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“I would say we created probably the best atmosphere this tournament has ever seen,” Kyrgios told reporters on Saturday.
“Ash’s (Barty) dad came up to us and said the crowd was the best he had ever seen.
“The ratings speak for themselves. People watch my games, everywhere I play in the world the stadiums are full for this reason.
“But there’s a reason the ratings are the way they are and people are glued to the TV when we play.
The childhood friends share a bromance on the pitch, with cameras capturing the bizarre moment Kyrgios grabbed a chuck from Kokkinakis’ behind ahead of Tuesday’s win over Kia Arena.
At Saturday night’s post-match press conference, Rothenberg asked Kokkinakis: “That’s a weird question, but I’ve been curious all along watching your matches Thanasi, does Nick touch you as much ass when you’re not on the court together?”
Kokkinakis immediately replied, “Yeah, probably more.”
Kyrgios intervened: “More.”
Kokkinakis continued, “It’s not for the cameras. That’s just how you create that camaraderie, you know? Do you like it, Ben? You do, don’t you.
After footage of the altercation circulated on social media, Rothenberg felt compelled to address the incident on Twitter.
“I am mortified by this incredibly goofy clip, which clearly shows how this was the wrong place for this exchange at all, so I want to respond quickly to clarify my regrets here,” he posted.
“I’ve known Thanasi and Nick for years and have a very familiar rapport with them both (as people might know more clearly from Nick on NCR); when I first appeared on screen at that press conference, not in this video, Thanasi laughed at me for not being on any of their pressers earlier in the tournament.
“Then, after asking my first question about Turin qualifying, the moderator unexpectedly gave me the floor again, so I tried to rush in with a second question (one I had obviously not given enough thought to , and I admitted that was gonna sound weird) about their well-documented bromance on the lot.
“It came out weird and weird (being after midnight on day 13 sure didn’t help my brain here). jokingly turning around at me (although you can’t hear my response to Thanasi in the video as they had already unmuted the next reporter for the next question and stirred me).
“It’s the kind of jokes the three of us would usually have casually had in the hallways or the players’ lounge, but since those areas are still isolated from the media for pandemic reasons, I, against better judgment, tried at a press conference where, again, it just seems inappropriate and mortifying, whether or not the guys had a problem with it.
Kyrgios said this week’s doubles campaign with Kokkinakis, where they improved on the No. 1, 3 and 6 seeds, was the highlight of his professional career.
“I’ve won big titles around the world, played amazing matches. This one ranks 1 for me,” he told reporters.
“When I say I wouldn’t want to do it with anyone else, I mean it. It was just special. All week, winning every round, I didn’t take it for granted. I m imbued with it.
“Not once did it occur to me that we were going to win the title. Maybe when we got to quarters.
“It’s a memory we will never forget. We will grow old and we will always remember the time we fell off the sofa and won the Aus Open.
However, Kokkinakis warned tennis fans not to expect the Special Ks to appear on the doubles circuit for the next few years.
“I mean, it’s just something you learned to play,” he told reporters.
“Your game is your game and your style is your style.
“I think if the doubles players try to play the way we play, it won’t work, and if we try to play the way the doubles players play, it won’t work.
“It’s just the way we were raised and what we think gives us the best chance of succeeding.
“There are loads of ways to play doubles, but for us playing singles on a half court works.”