All the potatoes: Nick Kyrgios slams another former Grand Slam champion

Yevgeny Kafelnikov attempted to stand up for Boris Becker but got shamed by Kyrgios.
Clive Brunskill/GettyImages

Maybe the tennis world needed something to discuss other than the recent suspension of Simona Halep as there are no current tournaments being played. Or perhaps the recent brouhaha between Nick Kyrgios and Boris Becker is simply so entertaining that the spat would have made news no matter what else was going on. Plus, Kyrgios's use of "potato" as a dismissive remark is both silly and mean.

If you missed the first part of the new feud, what happened was Kyrgios gave a recent interview with The Athletic (subscription required) where Kyrgios said the game was "so slow" when Becker played that Becker would not be able to transpose his success in the 1980s and 1990s into the current game. Kyrgios also said Becker would need to serve about 20 km per hour (nearly 20 MPH) faster than he did when he was ranked No. 1 compared to if he was playing in 2023 or beyond.

To be fair, the technology of the game has allowed for serves to be faster. The same Boris Becker in 1993 would have served faster with a current racket. Plus, while Kyrgios serves hard, he still has not won a Grand Slam while Becker won six major titles.

Boris Becker and Nick Kyrgios feud continues

But while the spat continues on X (the artist formerly known as X) - and my hope is that Becker and Kyrgios are simply having a bit of fun and there is no real, long-lasting, animosity - some other former players have chimed in. One in particular is Yevgeny Kafelnikov. Kafelnikov was a two-time Grand Slam winner himself (1996 French Open and 1999 Australian Open).

Kafelnikov tweeted a response to Kyrgios defending Boris Becker while also trying to insult Kyrgios. Kyrgios is likely more used to barbed conversations - he doesn't mind a bit of drama, of course - and had a ready-made word for the Russian. That word was "potato."

Potato is more than a simple root vegetable it appears. The word is also often used in Australian slang to mean an uninteresting or ugly person. I doubt that Kafelnikov understood the meaning.

The sad part of all of this mess is that Kyrgios should not really be calling older players bad in comparison to current ones. That is what he is doing as he is saying Becker would not be good now. That isn't fair or likely correct. But the whole thing is entertaining.

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