MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Wimbledon quarter-finalist Nick Kyrgios has moved to head off an international spat with Drake after the Canadian hip-hop artist took umbrage with a joke about his music at Wimbledon.
One of tennis's most promising young talents, the 19-year-old Australian blamed Drake's music for a slow start against his third-round opponent Jiri Vesely.
"Today was a bit of rap, actually," he told reporters at Wimbledon after beating the Czech 3-6 6-3 7-5 6-2. "I came out really flat, so hopefully I won't listen to that again. It was actually Drake. Yeah. Didn't do the job for me."
Drake hit back at Kyrgios in a conference call with reporters last week ahead of hosting 'The ESPYS', broadcaster ESPN's annual sporting awards night on Wednesday.
"I also want to meet this guy that says that he lost because he listened to my music," U.S. entertainment media quoted the 27-year-old as saying.
"I also want to meet that guy and look him in the eye and see exactly who he is as a man and size him up and then chop him right down. Nick whatever-his-name-is — because he didn’t win, so that’s how he’s going to be remembered: 'Nick whatever-his-name-is.'"
Kyrgios, who took Wimbledon by storm by upsetting Rafa Nadal in the fourth round, moved to defuse the tension on Twitter on Tuesday -- while also being clear about who won the match.
"Let's be clear. I like @Drake - love his music, just said I was a little flat, ended up winning that match. No blame game here," he tweeted.
(Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Nick Mulvenney)