The upcoming Bett1 Aces exhibition event in Berlin could deliver some spicy moments after one of its star imports – Australian maverick Nick Kyrgios – attacked top seed Alexander Zverev in an angry social-media rant.
After Zverev was pictured socialising in a Riviera beach bar on the weekend, Kyrgios told his Twitter and Instagram followers that "I see more controversial things happening around the world, but one thing that stuck out for me was seeing Sasha Zverev, again man, again.
"If you have the audacity to put out a tweet that you made your management f---ing write on your behalf saying you're going to self-isolate for 14 days, and apologising to the general public for putting their health at risk, at least have the f---ing audacity to stay inside for 14 days. My god. This tennis world's p---ing me off, seriously. How selfish can you all get?"
Zverev’s presence in a busy public space could certainly be seen as hypocritical after he promised to self-isolate a week ago, having been a part of the Adria Tour fiasco alongside Novak Djokovic, Grigor Dimitrov and other players who have since tested positive for Covid-19. But then, if Kyrgios does attend the Berlin event from July 13, he will also be accused of contradicting himself.
Two weeks ago, Kyrgios complained that staging the US Open at the end of August is unfair to those coming from countries with strong travel restrictions, adding “I’ll get my hazmat suit ready for when I travel from Australia and then have to quarantine for two weeks on my return.” Now it seems that he is prepared to go to Europe for an exhibition offering 200,000 Euros in prizemoney.
Asked about their bio-security protocols, the organisers of Bett1 Aces said that they would enforce daily temperature checks and require all players to keep a written log of their physical condition. There will be three different event zones, each operated in its own bubble, to limit the possibility of infection.
When asked specifically about Zverev’s conduct, a spokesperson for Bett1 Aces said “It’s deplorable that there are still players with so little sensitivity to the situation. At this stage, the field for the event remains the same. But we stress that all players and support-staff members will have to follow strict hygiene and security protocols, including compulsory Covid-19 tests for everyone directly after their arrival in Berlin."