Nick Kyrgios was two games away from advancing past Italy’s Andreas Seppi into the third round of the Australian Open when Nick Kyrgios happened.
The hotheaded Aussie took the first two sets from Seppi and was at 4-4 in the third when he started bickering with his own entourage, sitting nearby. As a result, the 89th-ranked Seppi took the third set and then the fourth and fifth, too, advancing with a 1-6, 6-7 (1-7), 6-4, 6-1, 10-8 win after saving a match point in the final set.
Kyrgios was playing in his first Grand Slam event since he was suspended by the ATP for tanking a match at the Shanghai Masters late last year, a ban that was reduced from eight weeks to three after he agreed to undergo counseling with a sports psychologist. According to the AAP, Kyrgios was battling a knee injury heading into the Australian Open and “appeared peeved about apparently having to put in extra work on his day off on Tuesday,” hence his unkind words for his own supporters during the match. With things falling apart in the third set, Kyrgios shouted obscenities toward his box and drew his first code violation warning from the umpire.
“I didn’t sign on for that [stuff],” he said toward his crew, following up with the f-word, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
Kyrgios then smashed his racket onto the court late in the third set, drawing a penalty point for his second code violation.
Down 6-5 in the fifth set, Kyrgios for some reason turned a run-of-the-mill return into an absurdly unnecessary through-the-legs shot that somehow worked out for him, as he broke Seppi to stay alive.
It’s Thursday already in Melbourne, and the tabloids are having a field day.
— Courier Mail Sport (@cmail_sport) January 18, 2017
Fellow Aussie Lleyton Hewitt, a two-time Grand Slam winner who’s now doing color commentary, said the loss again shows that Kyrgios clearly isn’t in a good place, mentally.
“He plays his best tennis when he’s happy, in that happy place. For some reason, he’s not now. He’s struggling,” Hewitt said, per the AAP.
John McEnroe also weighed in.