Monday 16 September 2019

Nick Kyrgios handed heavy fine after latest 'potato' jibe aimed at Irish umpire Fergus Murphy

Australian player Nick Kyrgios also refused to shake hands with Fergus Murphy at the end of the match. Picture: USA Today Sports
Australian player Nick Kyrgios also refused to shake hands with Fergus Murphy at the end of the match. Picture: USA Today Sports
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Nick Kyrgios has been fined $113,000 after his latest on-court meltdown, as he engaged in another battle with umpire Fergus Murphy that saw him lash out at the Irish official as he called him 'worst ref in the game'.

This was not the first time Australian tennis bad-boy has clashed with Murphy, with the pair involved in feisty exchanges during the Queen's Club Championships in London last June, while the duo were also involved in heated discussions in a tournament in Washington earlier this month as Kyrgois called the umpire 'a potato with legs and arms'.

While tennis chiefs have punished Kyrgios for his antics in recent years, this penalty is especially harsh, with ATP officials suggesting his behaviour in a defeat against Karen Khachanov at the Cincinnati Masters event is still under investigation and he could yet be handed a suspension from playing the tour.

"Following his second-round loss at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati Wednesday night, Nick Kyrgios was fined US$ 113,000," read the ATP statement.

"The following provides a breakdown of the penalties incurred by Kyrgios:

  • Ball Abuse (Warning)
  • Unsportsmanlike Conduct (Point Penalty) – US$ 20,000 fine
  • Leaving the Court – US$ 3,000 fine
  • Audible Obscenity – US$ 5,000 fine
  • Unsportsmanlike Conduct – US$ 5,000 fine
  • Unsportsmanlike Conduct – US$ 20,000 fine
  • Verbal Abuse – US$ 20,000 fine
  • Unsportsmanlike Conduct – US$ 20,000 fine
  • Unsportsmanlike Conduct – US$ 20,000 fine

"In addition to the on-site fines announced today the ATP is looking further into what happened during and immediately after the match to see if additional action is warranted under the Player Major Offense section of the code. That could result in an additional fine and/or suspension."

Kyrgois was embroiled in an ongoing row with Murphy throughout the match and at one point let the court with two rackets, proceeded to smash them to pieces out of sight of the umpire and then returned to court with his damaged equipment. "Why do I always have problems with this potato in the chair?" Kyrgios said of the Irish umpire during the game.

The behaviour of Kyrgios divides opinion in the tennis world, with Amazon Prime Sport analyst Mark Petchey among those defending a player he believes is vital for driving interest in the sport.

"Someone like Nick is fantastic for our game on a number of levels and I don't understand the theory that he is bad for tennis," Petchey told

"He is not teaching bad behaviour at the end of the day and you have a choice in life whether you want to copy Nick's behaviour. If you don't want to do that, you can still sit back and enjoy what he brings to the game.

"You just have to enjoy Nick and everything he brings to the game and I think he is awesome for tennis. Let him be the person he is rather than trying to change him into someone he never wants to be."

Petchey also questioned the level of fine for Kyrgios, as he argued Serena Williams was given a smaller fine after she accused umpire Carlos Ramos of sexism at last year's US Open.

"He's been fined $113,000. It is an awful lot of money," added Petchey. "Lets go back to Serena Williams at the US Open last year and the negative press that generated. She had prior at the US Open from 2009 and only an $82,500 fine there. That was reduced on good behaviour.

"So you do have to question whether Nick is getting punished consistently in respect to everyone else out there."

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