Nick Kyrgios has led the condemnation of an Australian Open reporter who brought Amanda Anisimova to tears with a question about her late father.
A grieving Anisimova's grand slam return ended in tears with the American rising star falling in the first round on Tuesday.
‘OH MY GOD’: Nick Kyrgios loses it at reporter's bizarre question
The 18-year-old was playing her first major since the shock death of her father and long-time coach Konstantin Anisimov, who suffered a heart attack just before the 2019 US Open.
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 with the 21st seed was upset by world No.73 Zarina Diyas of kazakhstan 6-3 4-6 6-3.
Anisimova broke down in a post-match media conference when asked how she was managing in her career without her father.
When a reporter asked if she was feeling ‘unsettled’, Anisimova replied: "Do we really have to talk about this so fast after a match", before bursting into tears.
"Things are still pretty tough but I was excited to play in the Australian Open as it's my favourite grand slam," she said after composing herself.
"I have good memories from it."
The reporter’s ‘cruel’ question left many commentators and fans furious, with Kyrgios taking to social media to slam the journo.
“This makes me so mad. Have a heart and please feel, it’s not fair. Keep your head up Amanda,” Kyrgios, who will play mixed doubles with Anisimova, tweeted
PURE PAIN: In context of the heart attack death in August of Amanda Anisimova's dad & coach, an Aussie writer asked the 18-year old, "do you feel unsettled." #Anisimova replied, "do we really have to talk about this so fast after a match" & then sobbed & burst into tears. #Cruel— INSIDE TENNIS (@BillSimons1) January 21, 2020
So insensitive! That journalist should have his/her credentials pulled. There is NO excuse for that question— Bernie (@Bernie8256) January 21, 2020
Can the journalist be barred from press conferences? That was very low and in really bad taste!— RDA (@RDAFreeThinker) January 21, 2020
awful. poor girl.— Nina2017 (@Nina201710) January 21, 2020
Heartless.— Georgina Taylor (@gmtaylor) January 21, 2020
Some of the questions that players are asked in presser are just os insensitive. Amanda deserved better than that.— Vicki Mainard 🇦🇺🕹🏀🐈 Scomo is my PM. (@vmainard) January 21, 2020
As a hopefully future journalist in tennis this kind of question is not something I’d ask. No matter their age but especially when 18yo as your still growing up & dealing with a loss like this at such a young age isn’t easy.— Anthony 🏳️🌈 (@the1lackster) January 21, 2020
Unbelievable. Poor girl. What a question to ask? Heart goes out to her on the loss of her Dad.— Suzi (@healthysuzi) January 21, 2020
Agreed, the poor girl is only 18 too. How insensitive can someone be?— Sherry Nassif (@SherryNassif) January 21, 2020
this journalist is disgusting 😕😡— Alibiñe (@Alibinee) January 21, 2020
Injury hampers Anisimova’s charge
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.