Even by Nick Kyrgios’ standards, it’s been an eventful 24 hours.
The Australian was defaulted from his second-round match against Casper Ruud at the Italian Open with the scores poised at one set apiece.
Kyrgios was handed a one-game penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct when he appeared to shout at a member of the crowd after his serve was broken in the final set.
He then threw his racket on the floor, kicked over a water bottle, and launched a chair into the middle of the court before saying “I’m done.” According to ATP regulations, a defaulted player loses all prize money, hotel accommodation and points accrued during that event.
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The result also means that Ruud, who had been leading 2-1 in the final set, will face Juan Martin del Potro in the next round.
These events come shortly after Kyrgios, ranked No. 36 in the world, had taken aim at rivals Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal.
Speaking to tennis journalist Ben Rothenberg on the “No Challenges Remaining” podcast, Kyrgios labeled the Spaniard “super salty,” saying that “every time I’ve beaten him … when he wins, it’s fine. He won’t say anything bad, he’ll credit the opponent. … But as soon as I beat him, it’s just like, ‘He has no respect for me, my fans and no respect to the game.’”
Kyrgios also said that Djokovic was a “champion of the sport,” but added that he has “a sick obsession with wanting to be liked. He just wants to be like Roger [Federer].
“This whole celebration thing that he does after matches, it’s like so cringeworthy … No matter how many grand slams he wins, he will never be the greatest for me.”
Kyrgios, who won the fifth ATP title of his career in Mexico earlier this year, had overcome Russian Daniil Medvedev 6-3 3-6 6-3 in the first round of matches in Rome.
The 24-year-old is no stranger to controversy.
He became engaged in a verbal spat with a heckling fan at the Miami Open in March, which resulted in the fan being removed from the court.
In 2016, he was banned for eight weeks and fined $25,000 for failing to “give best efforts” – or “tanking,” in tennis terms – at the Shanghai Masters.
Kyrgios took to Twitter following Thursday’s game at the Italian Open, laughing in response to a video of Ruud celebrating after the match.