Nick Kyrgios has taken aim at the ATP Tour for scheduling a handful of clay court events midway through the hardcourt season to start the calendar year. The usual format of the calendar year on the ATP Tour begins with the hardcourt season and then moving on the clay and grass before circling back to hard to finish the year.
The Latin American clay-court swing has often been a topic of debate among the top players, with many opting against playing in the events to get ready for the Masters 1000 tournaments at Indian Wells and Miami in March.
In 2014, the Mexican Open took the decision to switch from clay-court to hard courts in a bid to entice more players to come.
That has clearly worked in recent years with the likes of Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Dominic Thiem, Kei Nishikori, Alexande Zverev and Kyrgios among the players to have entered the tournament since the drastic change.
But there are still valuable points to be had at clay-court events in South America, particularly the Rio Open with it being an ATP 500 tournament.
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Gianluca Mager impressed at this year’s tournament, reaching the final to earn him big ranking points and move him up 51 places to No 77 in the world putting him ahead of some established pros on the tour.
His performance led to some celebration on social media, but Kyrgios certainly questioned it.
Replying to a tweet speaking of Mager’s achievement, Kyrgios wrote: “How many wins on hard court and grass court has he had?”
It appeared to be a sly comment at Mager’s expense, but the Australian later clarified in a series of tweets he wasn’t attacking the Italian.
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“If you think having all these clay court tournaments whilst we are in the midst of the hard court season is good for the sport and the future of tennis continue to argue,” he tweeted.
“I’m not going at anyone. I’m going at these tournaments.”
He also retweeted a post which described the Rio Open as a “f****** joke and Santiago next week is an even bigger one” before adding the a comment of: “factsssss.”
Cristian Garin has been the biggest benefactor of the clay-court season so far, winning at both the Cordoba Open and Rio Open.
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It has seen the Chile tennis star jump up to a career-high 18th in the ATP rankings, ahead of the likes of Felix Auger-Aliassime and Kyrgios.
Garin is back in action this week on clay at the Santiago Open while Kyrgios is looking to defend his title in Mexico.
The Australian has been drawn on the opposite side to Nadal but he could face No 2 seed Zverev in the semi-finals.
Kyrgios has had to withdraw from his last two scheduled events in New York and Delray Beach due to an injury, but he is scheduled to get his defence of the Mexican Open underway when he takes on Ugo Humbert in the first round.
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