Nineteen-year-old Nick Kyrgios stunned the world by kicking world No. 1 Rafael Nadal out of Wimbledon. But it's his apparent tattoo that has social media talking.
Kyrgios played the four-set match with what appeared to be a long tattooed strip reaching from his right wrist and disappearing into his shirt sleeve. Many were particularly intrigued as the skin under the tattoo appeared lighter than Kyrgios' own skin.
Kind of obsessed with Kyrgios' tattoo pic.twitter.com/TIqP9LREL3— Stacey Bartlett (@staceybartlett) July 1, 2014
Australia's Nick Kyrgios of Australia celebrates defeating Rafael Nadal of Spain. Photo: AP
Kind of obsessed with Kyrgios' tattoo pic.twitter.com/TIqP9LREL3
But it was not a tattoo. People can probably wrap themselves head to toe in this "tattoo" for about $15 - because it's a type of sports tape.
Evangelos Pappas, a University of Sydney physiotherapist specialising in orthopedic bio-mechanics, told Fairfax Media that Kyrgios was likely wearing the tape to support his elbow, specifically his ulnar nerve.
“The idea is he tape has similar mechanical tendencies to the muscles, tendons and skin ... it does some of the functions these do to lift the load.”
Dr Pappas said arms were taped in such a way to aid proprioception - that is, the ability of the body to sense where the joint is.
Elastic tapes such as the one Kyrgios wore are popular with athletes at the Olympics and World Cup, Dr Pappas said, but there was little robust evidence at this stage to suggest they offered anything more than a placebo effect, as they are so new.
The brand sported by Kyrgios, Dynamic Tape, was developed by an Australian scientist, Ryan Kendrick, and is made in Vanuatu.
It sells for about $15.50 a roll and comes in only one base colour - beige - with a tattoo design embedded over the top in either in a barely noticeable beige or black. The latter was sported by Kyrgios.
Is that an tattoo or plain old strapping on the inside of Kyrgios' right arm?— LFC_Dreamer (@lfc_dreamer) July 1, 2014
Is that an tattoo or plain old strapping on the inside of Kyrgios' right arm?
The tape is used to support injured body parts without restricting movement. It is often applied to mirror a joint to absorb some of the pressure put on the joint.
Serena Williams also uses the tape, as does the English Rugby team, the South African hockey team and Moto GP champ Jorge Lorenzo.
The tattoo design comes from Tahitian tattoo artist Tihoti.
Kyrgios, ranked 144th in the world, beat Nadal in just under two hours on Wednesday morning Australia time to reach the Wimbledon quarter-finals. He won 7-6 (7-5), 5-7, 7-6 (7-5), 6-3.
Kyrgios is the first man in a decade to reach the final eight on debut. He will now face eighth seed Canadian Milos Raonic early Thursday morning, Australia time.