Under-fire Kyrgios to keep Davis Cup spot, says captain Masur

Fri Aug 14, 2015 5:51am EDT
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MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Nick Kyrgios's lewd taunt to double grand slam champion Stan Wawrinka was part of a "journey" and a "learning curve" for a young tennis player who needs support more than punishment, Australia's Davis Cup captain Wally Masur said on Friday.

Kyrgios was fined $10,000 and sparked a global uproar after telling Wawrinka during a match in Montreal this week that Australian tour rival Thanasi Kokkinakis had slept with Donna Vekic.

Wawrinka has been romantically linked with the 19-year-old Croatian, who played mixed doubles with Kokkinakis at the Australian Open last year.

A furious Wawrinka demanded the ATP take action against Kyrgios, who later issued a public apology but faces the threat of suspension from the tour.

Pundits and top players, including world number one Novak Djokovic, have queued up to criticize Kyrgios but the response from Australia's tennis establishment has been far more sanguine.

Tennis Australia issued a statement saying that Kyrgios and his team needed "support", while Masur played down the sledge as "not confrontational" and said he was still in Australia's Davis Cup plans for their semi-final against Britain next month.

"How punitive can you be? At what point do you start to move forward?" Masur told local broadcaster Fox Sports.

"Nick is paying a very heavy price financially. Obviously the consequences will go beyond this week, for example amongst his peers on the tour, the ATP player council, they'll have their say."

However former Australian great Judy Dalton says the player should be banned from Davis Cup and the upcoming U.S. Open over his "disgraceful" comments.   Continued...

Aug 11, 2015; Montreal, Quebec, Canada; Nick Kyrgios of Australia reacts after winning his match against Fernando Verdasco of Spain (not pictured) during the Rogers Cup tennis tournament at Uniprix Stadium. Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports