Nick Kyrgios once again lost his cool as he succumbed to defeat in an extraordinary match at the Miami Open on Tuesday.
The Australian went down to a 7-6, 6-3 loss to Jannik Sinner in their fourth round match and clashed with the chair umpire, Carlos Bernardes. Kyrgios started well, forcing his Italian opponent into saving break points in successive games. But he soon vented his frustration at the surface, which he believed was playing too slow, and then at the volume of Bernardes’ walkie-talkie.
“Unbelievable!” he shouted during a change of ends towards the end of the first set. “Miami – one of the biggest tournaments – and you guys can’t do your jobs. It’s embarrassing!”
The world No 102 then slammed his racket into the ground as he fell behind in the tiebreak and was subsequently docked a point before double faulting to hand the first set to Sinner.
Kyrgios was still unhappy at the docked point at the start of the second set.
“What’s unsportsmanlike? What is unsportsmanlike?” he said to Bernardes repeatedly, before demanding to see a tournament official. The 26-year-old then smashed his racket to the ground again and Bernandes docked him a game, handing a break to Sinner. The Italian never looked back as he sealed a place in the quarter-finals. As if the match wasn’t chaotic enough, a fan ran on to court during play to pose for a selfie with Kyrgios.
Kyrgios appeared to hold no animosity towards Sinner, and the pair chatted amiably at the net at the end of the match. However, Kyrgios was in a rush to make his doubles match later in the afternoon and forgot to take a pair of his sneakers that had been next to his chair as he left the court.
Tuesday’s match was in stark contrast to Kyrgios’s tournament up to that point, during which he appeared to have curbed his notorious temper. Earlier in the week, he had spoken about taking inspiration from Naomi Osaka, who has spoken about addressing her mental health.
“I felt like I constantly played so much under that mental stress and negativity that I genuinely just couldn’t function anymore with the pressure,” Kyrgios said. “I couldn’t function with the negativity. Every day was just constant negativity from you guys, from eventually my family, eventually from my friends, from everyone. There was no positivity, and it was just eating me up and I just genuinely hated my life. It’s taken a long time … but I’m just happy now.”
Earlier in the day, Cameron Norrie, playing with heavy strapping on his left leg, was never able to reach the heights that had swept him to the quarter-finals or better in his last four tournaments.
The British No 1 failed to fashion a single break-point opportunity against Norway’s Casper Ruud until he converted the last of three in the eighth game of the second set, preventing the world No 8 serving out for the match.
But by that point there was a sense of prolonging the inevitable and Ruud made no mistake at his second attempt to seal a 6-3 6-4 win in just over one-and-a-half hours.