Nick Kyrgios is shaking up the tennis world with his brash personality and healthy disregard for the stuffy conventions of his sport. His latest act, however, may have got him in hot water yet again…
The 27-year-old Australian, who just beat America’s Brandon Nakashima in the fourth round of the 2022 Wimbledon Championships men’s singles to progress to the quarterfinals, has caught the ire of reporters yet again for committing what many consider to be a disrespectful fashion faux pas.
The crime? Not wearing all white. The English tournament is famous for its strict dress code, which maintains that players dress “predominately in white” or “almost entirely in white”, a rule that dates back to the 1800s.
Kyrgios turned arrived and departed his match against Nakashima wearing an eye-catching pair of red Nike Air Jordan 1 Lows and a matching red Jordan baseball cap. While he did swap out the cap and sneakers for white replacements during the match itself, the fact he wore the red to the match and during his post-game interview apparently raised a few eyebrows.
It wasn’t the first time he’d veered outside the guidelines this tournament but one reporter wanted to make it an issue during Kyrgios’ post-match press conference, news.com.au reports.
Kyrgios was characteristically defiant, saying “I do what I want” and “keep doing you then champion” to the bolshy reporter, who – while raising some good points – was clearly just trying to get a rise out of Kyrgios, the same way reporters have been at his throat all tournament. To his credit, Kyrgios didn’t let it get to him.
“Keep doing you then champion”: the way Kyrgios fails to get riled up by this line of questioning is a delight to watch pic.twitter.com/M6u6T94Wu0— Gavin Coote (@GavinCoote) July 4, 2022
Why do players at Wimbledon have to wear all white, though? Well, when the code was written in the 1880s, sweat stains were considered so improper and unsightly that it was decided that white should be worn to minimize their visibility, as sweat is more apparent on colourful clothing, Encyclopædia Britannica explains.
It’s by no means the only arcane tradition Wimbledon has, but it’s perhaps the most famous. It’s also a bit inconsistent – red caps and sneakers aren’t kosher, but sponsor’s logos (such as those on Novak Djokovic’s polo’s sleeves) are okay?
This is Kyrgios’ first major quarterfinal in 8 years – specifically, since Wimbledon 2014, where he beat then-world #1 Rafael Nadal in four sets to become the first male debutant to reach the Wimbledon quarterfinals since Florian Mayer in 2004.
Kyrgios goes up against Chile’s Cristian Garín next. If he beats Garín, he’ll almost certainly be facing Nadal in the semifinals, and then almost certainly face Djokovic in the finals. It won’t be easy, but Kyrgios could very well nab his first Grand Slam title.