Tennis bad boy Nick Kyrgios has finally revealed the new woman in his life after rumours that he had a secret muse.
The 20-year-old confessed the mystery woman was none other than his current mixed doubles partner, Croatian-Australian world No.65 Ajla Tomljanović.
He revealed the poorly kept secret after the couple’s straight-sets loss on Saturday to top seeds Ivan Dodig and Sania Mirza, a match marred by controversy, and was spotted by Channel Seven cameras on Tuesday kissing his new love interest at Melbourne Park.
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In the lead-up to last Saturday’s match, Kyrgios took the astonishing decision to answer a telephone call on-court, much to the chagrin of his girlfriend and doubles partner.
Some observers pointed to the awkward timing of the incident, which came less than a week after the sport was rocked by allegations of match-fixing.
His explanation for the incident was even more mind-boggling.
“One of my friends called me,” he said.
When asked if the call was important, he replied: “Kind of – not really.”
The Australian Open released a statement on Sunday clarifying the case against Kyrgios had been closed and he would not be fined as the incident occurred pre-match and not during a match.
The controversy is just one of a series of recent indiscretions to have plagued the tennis bad boy.
Kyrgios’ phone call incident came less than 24 hours after he lost his temper with chair umpire James Keothavong during a four-set loss to sixth seed Tomas Berdych.
During the second set, Kyrgios claimed the match had turned into a “circus”, chastising the umpire for failing to take action on music he heard playing in the crowd.
To make matters worse, he told Keothavong he was “a terrible referee” while shaking his hand at the end of the match.
In 2015 Kyrgios was widely criticised for making a sexual slur about women’s player Donna Vekic during a match against her boyfriend, Swiss grand slam winner Stanislas Wawrinka.
Budding romance amid the controversy
Kyrgios and Tomljanovic were rumoured to have been dating since mid-2015, with world No.16 Victoria Azarenka and 20-year-old American Madison Keys also rumoured to have been on Kyrgios’ radar.
In June, Kyrgios posted a picture with Tomljanovic’s sister, Hana, accompanied by the caption: “With (family) tonight.”
Back then, Tomljanovic denied suggestions of a romance, noting they were “just good friends”. Kyrgios also watered down the rumours, saying he didn’t date tennis players.
However, speculation continued to mount over the past few months sparked by a number of social media posts by the world No.30, including one where he shared a video practicing against Tomljanovic, captioning the photo: “My girl teaching me lessons”.
The pair were spotted together in November, as Kyrgios escorted Tomljanovic to the Queensland Tennis Awards in Brisbane.
But Kyrgios remained coy about the romance, despite openly maintaining personal relationships with both Tomljanovic and her sister Hana.
Tomljanovic moved to Brisbane in late 2014, taking up residence near the Queensland Tennis Centre in Tennyson.
She applied for Australian citizenship last year and expects to receive it in May, allowing her to play for Australia in the Fed Cup competition.
When quizzed on whether it was difficult playing alongside his girlfriend in a mixed doubles match, Kyrgios said: “Just being on the court with her, I was in a nice place.”
“We practise a lot together … I know what her tendencies are on court, I know what her strengths are so I know what she likes to do out there. It was easy,” he said.
Tomljanovic had a slightly different take on the experience.
“It was definitely a first,” she said.
“It was fun but I don’t like losing. So at the end of the day I wish we could have done better.”