‘Have a heart’: Star rallies behind doubles partner
Nick Kyrgios has spoken out in support of his mixed doubles partner Amanda Anisimova who broken down in tears after a 'cruel' question about her dead father.
The 18-year-old's dad and long-time coach, Konstantin Anisimov suffered a heart attack just before the 2019 US Open.
Anisimova was toppled in the first round on Tuesdayby world No.73 Zarina Diyas of Kazakhstan 6-3 4-6 6-3.before being pestered about her father's shock death in an uncomfortable post-match press conference, where she openly sobbed.
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Asked if she was feeling "unsettled" Anisimova replied: "Do we really have to talk about this so fast after a match?" before breaking down in tears.
"Things are still pretty tough but I was excited to play in the Australian Open as it's my favourite grand slam.
"I have good memories from it."
Kyrgios led the condemnation of the journalist after his 6-2 7-6 7-6 win over Italian Lorenzo Sonego.
"This makes me so mad. Have a heart and please feel, it's not fair. Keep your head up Amanda," he said.
Anisimova had just announced herself as a contender, upsetting defending champion and world No.3 Simona Halep in the quarter-finals of the French Open.
She then lost to eventual champion Ashleigh Barty in a dramatic final-four showdown, coming from 0-5 to win the first set before the Australian prevailed in a career-defining win.
Earmarked for a big future, Anisimova signed a mega long-term deal with Nike that was reported to be the largest ever for a teenager and comparable to that of former great Maria Sharapova's eight-year, $102 million deal.
Reaching the fourth round at Melbourne Park in 2019, Anisimova's hopes of a repeat this year were dashed by Diyas.
The teenager said her preparation had been hampered by a shoulder injury, which had restricted her training.
"It's very frustrating but it's nice to get back to work and you only learn from days like this," she said.
"I feel like I didn't get enough preparation in as I was missing some practice days with a shoulder injury but it's a bit better now and I'm just happy it's not too serious and I can keep working."
Anisimova is now working with Carlos Rodriguez, the long-time former mentor of Justine Henin who also lost a parent.
Their contract was due to expire after the Open but Anisimova said she hoped to continue the partnership.
Anisimova's Open campaign isn't completely over, with the American set to partner Nick Kyrgios in the mixed doubles.