Saturday 18 November 2017

Kyrgios throws tantrum at umpire and exits

Nick Kyrgios throws his racquet in anger during his match with Tomas Berdych Photo: REUTERS/Jason Reed
Nick Kyrgios throws his racquet in anger during his match with Tomas Berdych Photo: REUTERS/Jason Reed

Paul Newman

Nick Kyrgios’ Australian Open ended in typically confrontational fashion as the 20-year-old home player conducted a running battle with the umpire during his 6-3, 6-4, 1-6, 6-4 third-round defeat to Tomas Berdych.

While Berdych was a model of focus and concentration, ignoring everything that was happening on the other side of the net, Kyrgios seemed almost permanently distracted. He talked to the crowd, gestured to his entourage, threw a ball at the overhead “spider cam” camera, bounced his racket on the floor and clashed with the British umpire, James Keothavong.

Perhaps Kyrgios recalled the fact Keothavong was in charge of his controversial Wimbledon match against Richard Gasquet last year, when he appeared to give up in one game and complained when the official told him to hurry up when he was changing his socks. This time Kyrgios protested about music which he thought was coming from the crowd, though it may have drifted over from the adjacent MCG, where a Twenty20 match was being played.

“Mate, it’s a circus,” Kyrgios told Keothavong, demanding  why the umpire was not calling for quiet. “You really know how to control a match, buddy.”

On the final point Kyrgios’ first serve was called out, upon which the Australian walked forward to look at the ball’s mark. Keothavong, regarded as one of the sport’s best umpires, asked him if he wanted to challenge the call, to which Kyrgios replied: “Mate, give me a break.”

Kyrgios missed his second serve, too, handing the victory to Berdych on a double-fault. “You’re a terrible referee,” the world No 30 said as he offered Keothavong the briefest of handshakes before walking off the court. Berdych now plays Roberto Bautista Agut after the Spaniard beat Marin Cilic.

Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer – seeded to meet in the semi-finals – advanced. Djokovic beat Andreas Seppi 6-1, 7-5, 7-6, while Federer secured his 300th victory in Grand Slam tournaments when he beat Grigor Dimitrov 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4.

Independent News Service

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