Thursday 23 November 2017

Nick Kyrgios: Novak Djokovic gets away with pushing an umpire while I get warned for shouting at a ball boy

Nick Kyrgios
Nick Kyrgios

Simon Briggs

Tennis’s charismatic young rebel Nick Kyrgios complained that he is being singled out for punishment by umpires and officials when more established players – notably world No 1 Novak Djokovic - are escaping with their reputations intact.

A rain-shortened schedule in Paris still gave Kyrgios enough time to complete a typically double-edged performance. It wasn’t so much the straight-sets victory over Marco Cecchinato that everyone noticed, more the code-violation warning for unsportsmanlike conduct and the ensuing bust-up with umpire Carlos Ramos.

After Ramos had sanctioned him for barking rudely at a ball-boy when he wanted his towel, Kyrgios yelled "How can you sit there and give me a code for that? But when Djokovic pushes an umpire out of the way that's alright?”

Kyrgios was referring to an incident in Rome 10 days ago, when Djokovic had put his hand on Ramos’s arm and pushed it aside as they examined a mark together in the clay. “The only thing I minded with Carlos is he was actually touching the mark,” Djokovic explained after that Roman quarter-final. “He was kind of creating his own mark.”

In Sunday's post-match press conference, Kyrgios was asked whether Djokovic had been let off lightly. “I think we all know in this room if that was me that did that, it would be an absolute circus,” Kyrgios replied. “But if he did it, you know, nothing really happened of it. It speaks for itself.”

As for his own code violation, he explained that “I just felt like it was a bit rough. For me that time I didn't get mad at all. I just said it a little bit loud. The crowd was going on. And if we're going to play by the rules, you have 20 seconds in between points, so I'm not going to wait for the crowd to quieten down to get my towel.”

Apart from that one obligatory flashpoint, Kyrgios handled an awkward match with patience and discipline. Cecchinato belied his lowly ranking – No 124 – by working the angles cleverly and tossing in some lethal drop-shots. Kyrgios had to fight his way through two tie-breaks to take the spoils 7-6, 7-6, 6-4.

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