Nick Kyrgios was asked when he was going to ‘play f—— tennis ‘ by his opponent Steve Johnson during their US Open first round match on Wednesday morning.
The flashpoint came when Kyrgios, who ultimately won the match 6-3, 7-6, 6-4, berated the umpire towards the end of the second set after a woman trying to get to her seat entered his line of sight as he went to serve. Kyrgios asked if the woman was alright and then questioned the umpire – Britain’s James Keothavong – for not intervening.
Kyrgios was given a code violation warning for an audible obscenity, and then continued the debate at the change of ends after holding for 5-4. At this point, an angry Johnson asked his opponent “Do you want to play f—— tennis or host a s—show”.
Kyrgios ignored the comment, but recovered his equilibrium to win the second set tie-break and dig out the victory in straight sets.
“It was pretty clean,” Kyrgios said of the crucial second set tie-break. “I knew it was an important set. If he got that set the match could have been different and we’d still be playing right now.”
Nick Kyrgios vents his frustration at umpire James Keothavong Credit: Getty Images
Kyrgios was then asked what he made of the £102,000 fine he was given for his spectacular meltdown in Cincinnati last month where he continually criticised umpire Fergus Murphy and went off court to smash two rackets .
“The ATP [men’s tennis’s governing body] is pretty corrupt anyway. I’m not fussed about it at all,” he said.
In response, the ATP issued a statement that read: “The comments made by Nick Kyrgios after his first-round match in New York will be assessed under the Player Major Offense provision under ATP Rules. A determination will be made by Gayle David Bradshaw, Executive Vice President, Rules & Competition, following an investigation as required by ATP rules.”
An unrepentant Kyrgios continued: “I was fined $113,000 for what? Why are we talking about something that happened three weeks ago when I just chopped up someone first round of a US Open?”
Next up for Kyrgios will be a second-round match against the Frenchman Antoine Hoang, who beat Argentine Leonardo Mayer earlier on Tuesday.
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