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Tennis London • Two Matches, Three Fines: Recapping Kyrgios’ Wild Thursday At Queen’s Club

Australia’s Nick Kyrgios reacts during his Round of 32 match against Spain’s Roberto Carballes Baena at the Fever Tree Championship at Queen’s Club in London, Britain, 20 June 2019. EPA-EFE/WILL OLIVER



By Ricky Dimon


Nick Kyrgios playing two matches in one day? What could possibly go wrong?


A lot could go wrong, of course.


And a lot did.


The good news for Kyrgios was that he won his first-round encounter with lucky loser Roberto Carballes Baena. But wait. Was that actually good news? It simply meant he had to play more tennis later in the day, when a loss would have allowed to spend the rest of the afternoon (and night? and morning?) playing Fifa with Thanasi Kokkankis.


Whatever the case, nothing else that transpired on Friday was even in the realm of being considered “good” for Kyrgios.


Even against Carballes Baena, winning the match was hardly any part of the story.


It all started to go haywire with chair umpire Fergus Murphy before a single ball was struck. The coin toss… yes, the coin toss… caused controversy when Murphy flipped the sliver spheroid onto his own foot, such that it didn’t land on either side. Murphy then flicked it with his foot onto one side, such that Carballes Baena won the toss.


“That’s not fair,” Kyrgios quipped. “You have to redo the coin toss, bro.”


Murphy initially refused, but eventually obliged. Kyrgios won it upon the redo…only–after all of that kerfuffle–to let Carballes Baena choose whether to serve or receive.


It only went downhill from there, as the Australian spent much the match’s one hour and 30 minutes fuming over line calls (only Centre Court at Queen’s Club has the challenge system, and Kyrgios was out on Court 2).


Midway through the first set, Carballes Baena hit a second serve that Kyrgios thought was well long. There was no call from a linesperson and no overrule by Murphy.


“You are taking the f…ing  piss,” Kyrgios shouted at the chair umpire, loud enough so that anyone even in the remote vicinity of Court 2 could hear. “The ball was this far out (motioning with his hands to indicate a foot). What are you doing up there? Seriously what are you doing up there? I refuse to play.”


It was a threat (or some fans might consider it a promise) he made throughout the contest, albeit one that was never carried out.


“If I get more bad calls I’m not playing,” he told his team early in the second set. “No joke. Like I’m not kidding. I’m not kidding.”


Kyrgios continued to play, but only after Murphy finally let him talk to supervisor Ali Nili following constant pleas by the player.


“You’re a joke,” Kyrgios seethed during one changeover. “Get the supervisor. I want to talk to him about how bad you are.” How bad was Murphy, in Kyrgios’ opinion? Let’s just say the 24-year-old even had a beef with Murphy’s hat.


“Your hat looks ridiculous, also. It’s not even sunny.”


If it seems like Kyrgios was more interested in things other than his own match, well, he was. During one changeover, instead of arguing with Murphy for once he spent the whole time watching Kevin Anderson vs. Gilles Simon on the adjacent court.


A lack of focus was far from Kyrgios’ only problem. Laziness, by his own admission, was another.


“So lazy,” he chastised himself. Do something. So lazy you are. You were playing Fifa until 3:00 a.m.; what do you expect?”


If he expected to lose, he was wrong. Despite all the shenanigans, Kyrgios managed to prevail over Carballes Baena 7-6(4), 6-3.

Australia's Nick Kyrgios returns to Spain's Roberto Carballes Baena during their round 32 match at the Fever Tree Championship at Queen's Club in London, Britain, 20 June 2019. EPA-EFE/WILL OLIVER

As for getting through two matches in one day, including one against a red-hot Felix Auger-Aliassime just a couple of hours after winning his first-rounder? Now that’s a whole different matter altogether.


“There is zero chance I’m winning this match,” Kyrgios told some fans sitting courtside before warmups.


But he did have a chance–a good one, in fact, since he actually looked somewhat motivated almost the entire way. A slip on the first point of the third set and an ensuing hip issue, however, soured his mood. The world No. 39 at least manage to hold serve en route to 5-5, but at 5-6 he cracked while serving to stay in the match. It was a final game that began with an underhand serve (which Auger-Aliassime easily deposited for a forehand return winner), a volley at the baseline on a shot by Auger-Aliassime that would have sailed well long, and an unnecessary tweener at deuce.


Following the 6-7(4), 7-6(3), 7-5 loss, Kyrgios flung his racket over the sideline wall. Yes, out of the entire court and onto the Queen’s Club grounds.


Serenaded with boos as he exited, Kyrgios turned around and yelled to the fans, “suck my d–k!”


Perhaps knowing that fines were already coming his way, Kyrgios decided not to incur an even bigger hit and actually showed up for his press conference. But, needless to say, he wasn’t too enthused about doing so.


“I’m just tired,” Kyrgios concluded. “I thought I gave everything today.”


Was he tired from playing two singles matches in one day? Or was he tired from staying up late playing Fifa the night before?


“I didn’t link that towards my tiredness at all, did I,” he argued. “Yeah, I didn’t say I was tired from it, did I? That’s what happens when you play a couple matches that go for a couple hours. You tend to be tired.”


“Have you played a match before,” he then asked reporter George Bellshaw.


Bellshaw: “Yeah.”


Kyrgios: “Were you fresh after it? Were you?”


Bellshaw: “Not overly.”


Kyrgios (sarcastically, of course): “Okay. Good question. Very good question.”


He also wasn’t thrilled with the the final line of questioning regarding Novak Djokovic, whom Kyrgios recently slammed in a podcast with reporter Ben Rothenberg. In that interview, Kyrgios said Djokovic “just wants to be like Roger (Federer); just wants to be liked so much that I just can’t stand him.”


Bellshaw: “A couple of days ago Novak said he’d offered to kind of support you in the future. You could go to him if you ever had a problem. Would you consider talking to someone like that?”


Kyrgios: “Why would I?”


Bellshaw: “Just to get some kind of advice.”


Kyrgios: “What’s he gonna tell me?”


Bellshaw: “I don’t know. He said he had a lot of problems when he was younger, struggling coming up, suffering.”


Kyrgios: “Okay.”


Bellshaw: “Does that interest you at all?”


Kyrgios: “What would he tell me?”


Bellshaw: “I don’t know.”


Kyrgios: “What do you think he would tell me that I would go there for advice? What would he tell me?”


Bellshaw: “I don’t know.”


Kyrgios: “I don’t understand with you guys. Like, dude, have you not seen Novak with ball boys and smack balls at people? Do you not see that?”


Bellshaw: “No, I do.”


Kyrgios: “How come it doesn’t blow up the same when I do it? Why doesn’t it?”


Bellshaw: “I think it does sometimes.”


Kyrgios: “Does it? Really?”


Bellshaw: “Sometimes.”


Kyrgios: “Okay. If you’re being honest, which I know you’re not, then we can have this conversation another time.”


And with that, he was off. Out of the interview room and then gone from The Queen’s Club, likely onto the sofa for more Fifa.


He may have escaped more questioning and more tennis playing, but he did not escape the fines.


They were as follows:

$2,500: Unsportsmanlike conduct vs. Carballes Baena
$5,000: Unsportsmanlike conduct vs. Carballes Baena
$10,000: Unsportsmanlike conduct vs. Auger-Aliassime


All in a day’s work.


Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.

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