Controversial Aussie tennis star Nick Kyrgios is set to play Stan Wawrinka for the first time since last year’s infamous sledging incident.
The pair will clash in the semi-final of the Dubai Tennis Championship on Saturday (AEDT), after Kyrgios stormed to victory over world number seven Tomas Berdych (6-4, 6-4) on Friday.
Kyrgios was universally slammed in August 2015 for baiting Wawrinka on-court at the ATP Rogers Cup in Montreal, Canada, when he said: “Kokkinakis banged your girlfriend, sorry to tell you that.”
Kyrgios was referring to his friend and fellow Australian tennis young-gun Thanasi Kokkinakis and Wawrinka’s girlfriend, Donna Vekic.
After the sledge, the Swiss star told reporters: “No, he [Kyrgios] didn’t apologise, so no. But I prefer not to talk about him. Thank you.”
Wawrinka later described the comment as “unacceptable” and “beyond belief”.
“What was said I wouldn’t say to my worst enemy. To stoop so low is not only unacceptable but also beyond belief,” he posted on Twitter.
The pair were reportedly involved in a locker room confrontation before Kyrgios issued an apology and accepted a $US10,000 ATP fine and a six-month suspended ban.
Despite struggling with a back problem and food poisoning, Kyrgios produced a superb display against the highly-rated Berdych on Friday.
He lost just four points on serve in the second set, firing 10 aces in a match that lasted just under 90 minutes.
“I wasn’t in the greatest shape, obviously. I think I got a bit of food poisoning last night,” Kyrgios said.
“I was really surprised with the performance I gave out there today, coming out and beating a quality player and in tough conditions.
“It’s probably my favourite win over the last couple of weeks.
“It’s tough, especially with Tomas. He’s so diligent with everything he does, so professional.
“For me to come out there and put in a great performance like that… I just took my chances when they came.
“Conditions were really fast. When one of us got a pretty good strike, I think the point was pretty much over.
“I served well and competed well. I’m very, very happy.”
– with AAP