Australian tennis star Nick Kyrgios has returned serve in a subtle but clear manner after being labelled an "absolute knob" by Kiwi counterpart Michael Venus.
Venus and German playing partner Tim Puetz were beaten in three sets by Kyrgios and fellow Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis in the quarter-final of the men's doubles draw in front of a raucous crowd that the Aussie pair whipped into a frenzy.
In an interview with TVNZ, Venus teed off on Kyrgios, saying he had the maturity level of a 10-year-old and that it was clear "why he's never fulfilled his potential and probably never will."
As has been the case in all of Kyrgios' matches at the Australian Open - singles and doubles - the crowd was again boisterous on Rod Laver Arena on Thursday during the Aussie duo's semifinal win against No 3 seeds Horacio Zeballos and Marcel Granollers.
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Kyrgios and Kokkinakis won the match in straight sets, after which Kyrgios addressed Venus' comments.
"I'm not going to destroy Michael Venus during this press conference, but Zeballos and Granollers are singles players. They've had great careers. I respect them a lot more than I respect Michael Venus," Kyrgios said.
"I think the balance was there today. I think the quality of tennis was amazing and I think the festival atmosphere was still there.
"I think they embraced it, they knew it was an incredible atmosphere. Zeballos took a selfie with us before we walked out, that's how you embrace an atmosphere - not losing a match and getting salty about it afterwards."
Kyrgios and Kokkinakis, who entered the men's doubles draw as a wildcard, will now meet fellow unseeded Australian pair Matthew Ebden and Max Purcell in the final on Saturday night.
It's been 42 years since the last All-Australian men's doubles final at the Australian Open.