Nick Kyrgios put on a show for the fans, who apparently were just there to watch him.
The temperamental Australian tennis star had another one of his epic meltdowns in a 7-6, 6-3 loss to Jannik Sinner at the Miami Open on Tuesday.
Kyrgios’ afternoon was replete with racket throws and smashes, plenty of heated words with chair umpire Carlos Bernardes and even a fan somehow trying to get a selfie when tensions were at their peak.
After the match, Kyrgios continued to rant against Bernardes both in a post-match press conference and on social media.
“When everyone in that crowd is booing an umpire, and he’s becoming the center of attention, that’s not his job,” Kyrgios said. “Because no one in that entire stadium bought a ticket to see him talk or play or do what he does.”
“You’ve got Jannik Sinner who is one of our greatest stars and, not to toot my horn, the majority of people are there to watch me play. And you have a guy talking while I was 40-0 up. He was talking. I was like, ‘What are you doing?’ The crowd actually hated him that much they told him to be quiet. If you are getting booed by the crowd you are not doing a good job. He made it about himself and apparently his feelings were hurt from what I said and the crowd said. You can’t be like that if you’re an umpire.”
The fireworks seemed to start when a walkie-talkie went off during a point at 4-4 in the first set. They picked up considerably during the first-set tiebreaker when Kyrgios missed a forehand wide and then slammed his racket to the court. He was already upset with Bernardes, for reasons that weren’t immediately clear.
“What’s unsportsmanlike? What is unsportsmanlike?” he asked Bernardes repeatedly, before screaming that he wanted to talk to a tournament official.
“Get me someone now!” Kyrgios said, then smashed his racket on the court four times.
That’s when Bernardes issued the game penalty, putting Kyrgios down a break before the second set even started, and Sinner kept the lead the rest of the way.
Kyrgios’ frustrations continued after the match in a social media rant.
“Some of the circus that was today!” Kyrgios wrote over a video of the action posted on his Instagram Story. “Great umpiring and courting at a master 1000 (laughing emojis). All I said to get a point penalty was that my friend could do the job of the umpire. He said his feelings got hurt. Hundreds of thousands of dollars on the line. GET NEW UMPIRES.”
Kyrgios said he’s been in a happier place of late, though that happiness got away from him earlier this month at Indian Wells. After losing in the quarterfinals there to Rafael Nadal and shaking hands, Kyrgios went to his seat and smashed his racket — which wound up nearly striking a ball boy. That earned him a $25,000 fine for a combination of his antics and an audible obscenity.
Kyrgios revealed Tuesday that he found the ball boy from Indian Wells a day later and presented him with a racket as an apology.
“That’s something he’s going to remember like his entire life. The ATP doesn’t … pick up any media things on that,” Kyrgios said.
Another fine might be coming, since his professed happiness wasn’t there Tuesday, either.
Sinner, meanwhile, didn’t know much about what made Kyrgios so upset.
“I just tried to stay in my zone, and, yeah, I think that was the right choice,” Sinner said.
This is far from the first time Kyrgios’ on-court antics have overshadowed his play.
In 2019, he walked off the court and threw a chair onto the red clay during a fit of rage during his second-round match at the Italian Open, leading to him being defaulted and finished. Kyrgios was suspended by the ATP Tour for two months in 2016 for “tanking” a match and insulting fans during a loss at the Shanghai Masters. And in 2015, Kyrgios insulted Stan Wawrinka with crude remarks during a match in Montreal, earning him a $12,500 fine and a suspended 28-day ban.
“I know I’m a good person,” Kyrgios said. “I don’t really care, but I don’t understand what could you possibly fine me for today.”
— With AP