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Nick Kyrgios has criticised Dominic Thiem for opposing the notion that the top tennis players should help lower-ranked competitors who are struggling financially after the Austrian said “none of them are going to starve.”

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic has urged players to contribute to a fund set up by the sport’s major governing bodies to help players affected by a shutdown which began in March and will continue at least until mid-July because of the coronavirus pandemic.

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Thiem rejected the idea and told Austrian newspaper Krone on Sunday that “no tennis player is fighting to survive, even those who are much lower-ranked.”

Kyrgios responded to Thiem’s comments on social media and said the Austrian has missed the point.

Nick Kyrgios has criticised Dominic Thiem on his Instagram for his comments on helping lower ranked tennis players. Photo by Kelly Defina/Getty Images

“He still doesn’t understand the point,” he wrote on Instagram. “We at the top get paid far too much and there is not enough to go around.

“It’s about helping where we can, professional or unprofessional, put yourself in their shoes.”

The Australian has shown his compassion throughout the global outbreak and pledged to help hungry people and drop off food at the doorstep for those in need earlier this month.

Grand Slam winners Simona Halep and Petra Kvitova have also backed Djokovic’s idea while also backing a potential idea of merging the men’s and women’s tours.

Kvitova told Reuters: “Perhaps there can be some kind of employment insurance for tennis players, a player relief fund, and a different distribution of prize money to help those who lose in earlier rounds of the bigger events.”