"I understand that every player goes through certain tantrums, emotional ups and downs during the match. In a big fight and at this level, I understand. But it's not, I would say, fair, and there's no excuse of directing your tantrums to your opponent, especially to somebody that is not even there."
The operative words in the ever-diplomatic Mr. Djokovic's comment are: "especially to somebody that is not even there."
Those words refer to the young lady whom Wawrinka is reportedly dating, about whom Kyrgios made a salacious accusation during his match with Wawrinka (Kyrgios won the match when Wawrinka retired with a lower back injury at 0-4 in the third set). The comment by Kyrgios was picked up by courtside microphones.
As a result of the insult, the ATP fined Kygrios the maximum on-site fine of $10,000. The player's union has also served Kyrgios with a "notice of investigation", which opens the door to a process that may lead to further fines and, possibly, suspension.
The ATP has acted swiftly and decisively, partly because the leadership at the WTA went apoplectic upon hearing Kyrgios's remarks.
And there's this: The last thing the ATP wants is a new star who seems exciting and personable but, like certain NFL or NBA players, turns out to be controversial and edgy in all the wrong ways. Especially when it comes to women. That's something tennis has never experienced.
A radical haircut with red and gold streak? Cool! Talking about a woman in a demeaning and disrespectful way? Not cool.
Before Wednesday, many tennis fans gave Kyrgios the benefit of the doubt. He was the electric personality, the second coming of Andre Agassi. Kyrgios was the talented individualist whose antics and expressive nature were a welcome antidote to the corporate excellence of Roger Federer. Now, he's in danger of being ridiculed as the ridiculous Australian sexist.
How could it happen so quickly?
It has been said, tweeted, posted and broadcast on the airwaves and even printed (imagine that!) in the newspapers time and again. In the age of mic'd-up athletes, fields and courts, a seemingly infinite number of camera positions, social media and citizen journalists without borders, it's almost impossible to get away with making the Big Mistake anymore.
And Nick Kyrgios made the Big Mistake.
You can find the details elsewhere, but the reality is that Wawrinka was not the sole target of Kyrgios's comment. And if that didn't occur to Kyrgios before he shot his mouth off, so much the worse for him.
It's an important point to make. It shows the incident isn't just about a hot-headed young athlete who's dying to be a great champion challenging one of the herd-bulls. It's also about an arrogant, preening, gifted young athlete feeling absolutely free to exercise his cruelest, most misogynistic instincts.
I'm not sure why Kyrgios felt obliged to stick the knife into Wawrinka; after all, it isn't as as if Wawrinka has a reputation as a horrible guy. But in sticking in the knife so deeply, Kyrgios revealed an even uglier truth about himself.
As expected, Kyrgios later took to social media to apologize. After all, he's coached by some of the best spin doctors in the management business. He wrote:
"My comments were made in the heat of the moment and were unacceptable on many levels. I take full responsibility for my actions and regret what happened."
He was certainly right about one thing: his comments were indeed "unacceptable on many levels."