US Open: ATP investigate Nick Kyrgios over ‘pretty corrupt’ comment
Australian later sought to clarify comments on social media
Nick Kyrgios plays a volley during his first round match against Steve Johnson at the US Open. Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Image
Nick Kyrgios is being investigated by the ATP after branding the governing body “pretty corrupt” following his first-round win at the US Open.
Kyrgios was quizzed about the hefty fine of $113,000 (€102,000) he was handed following his behaviour at the Cincinnati Masters earlier this month.
The volatile Australian smashed two rackets and was abusive towards Irish umpire Fergus Murphy during his defeat by Karen Khachanov.
He told reporters at Flushing Meadows: “ATP’s pretty corrupt anyway, so I’m not fussed about it at all.”
The 24-year-old could now face a further fine or possibly a suspension.
An ATP statement read: “The comments made by Nick Kyrgios after his first-round match in New York will be assessed under the player major offence provision under ATP Rules.
“A determination will be made by Gayle David Bradshaw, executive vice president, rules and competition, following an investigation as required by ATP rules.”
Kyrgios, who beat American Steve Johnson in straight sets to reach the second round in New York, later sought to clarify his comments.
In a statement on Twitter, he wrote: “It was not the correct choice of words and my point and intention was to address what I see as double standards rather than corruption.
“I know my behaviour has at times been controversial and that has landed me in trouble, which at times is granted and valid but my issue is around others whether gaining the same, less of more media attention doing the same or similar behaviour and not being sanctioned.”
Kyrgios delivered heaps of brilliant shotmaking and a sprinkle of controversy in his 6-3 7-6 (7-1) 6-4 win that put him into a second-round meeting with Frenchman Antoine Hoang, who beat Argentine Leonardo Mayer.
Kyrgios was laser-focused for the first half of the match as he deployed a lethal mix of monster serves, stinging forehands and smart net play but nearly unravelled when he got agitated over a fan who interrupted his ball toss.
The 28th seed was serving at 4-4 in the second set when a woman trying to get to her seat entered his line of sight during his serve, at which point an annoyed Kyrgios asked aloud if she was all right.
Kyrgios then looked to the chair umpire who said he could not have prevented the interruption because he did not see it since he was focused on the players. But a clearly perturbed Kyrgios was not happy with that explanation and following a verbal exchange was given a code violation warning for an audible obscenity.
After Kyrgios held serve to go 5-4 up he resumed his back-and-forth with the umpire on the changeover at which point a clearly annoyed Johnson asked his opponent when he was going to “play f***ing tennis”.
Kyrgios, who has repeatedly got in trouble for on-court actions and is known for his short temper, did not let the incident affect his sublime play as he settled right back down to business.
The Australian blitzed Johnson in the second set tiebreak where he showed his lighter side when he broke into a little dance after chasing down a dropshot he sent back for a brilliant crosscourt winner and a commanding 6-0 cushion.
“It was pretty clean,” Kyrgios said of the tiebreak. “I knew it was an important set. If he got that set the match could have been different and we’d still be playing right now.”
Johnson, who was being thoroughly outplayed, did manage to finally earn his first break to get to within 3-1 in the third set but Kyrgios relied on his massive serve to carry him over the finish line.
Kyrgios was all business from the outset and when he held at love in his first service game for 1-1, he soaked up the first of many “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie” chants inside Louis Armstrong Stadium on the night. The Australian controlled the match with his serve as he won 88 per cent of his first serve points and saved three of the four break points he faced.
Earlier, Dominic Thiem and Stefanos Tsitsipas were the big first-round casualties in the men’s draw.
World number four Thiem, twice a French Open runner-up, was beaten in four sets by unseeded Italian Thomas Fabbiano, 6-4 3-6 6-2 6-2.
There were extenuating circumstances for the Austrian, who has been suffering with a virus in the build-up to Flushing Meadows and would not have been expecting to mount a serious challenge.
Tsitsipas, however, suffered a second consecutive Grand Slam first-round exit after his early departure at Wimbledon.
Despite struggling with cramp Tsitsipas put up a serious fight, breaking Rublev to love as he served for the match.
But Rublev was not to be denied and broke straight back before holding his nerve and his serve to wrap up a breathless 6-4 6-7 (5) 7-6 (9) 7-5 win.
Tsitsipas did not leave quietly, though. He was penalised for a coaching violation, and later a time violation, and was overheard saying to umpire Damien Dumusois “you’re all weirdos”.
He was unrepentant afterwards, claiming Dumusois has something against him: “The chair umpire was very incorrect in what he was telling me during the match,“ Tsitsipas said.
“I don’t know what this chair umpire has in specific against my team but he’s been complaining and telling me that my team talks all of the time when I’m out on the court playing.
“He’s very . . . I don’t know. I believe he’s not right, because I never hear anything of what my team says from the outside. And there is nothing that I personally believe can help my game or make me play better.
“My father, who usually does the talking, he’s trying to pump me up by saying, you know, ‘come on’.
“Raising my confidence by not coaching but by trying to boost me up. I believe the coach for my opponent does the same thing, which is normal.
“This chair umpire, I don’t know, he has something against me. I don’t know why.”
Wimbledon semi-finalist Roberto Bautista Agut was another seed to bite the dust after a gruelling five-setter.
Agut, seeded 10, lost 3-6 6-1 6-4 3-6 6-3 to Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan.
Ninth seed Karen Khachanov also fell by the wayside, Vasek Pospisil running out a 4-6 7-5 7-5 4-6 6-3 winner, and 18th seed Felix Auger Aliassime lost the all-Canadian affair against Denis Shapovalov in straight sets.
Predictably there was no such trouble for second seed Rafael Nadal, a straight-sets winner over Australian John Millman in a little over two hours.
The Spaniard said: “There were some tough points, his movement is great and it was a match I gave a lot of respect to.
“Always at the beginning everything is a bit new, not easy, so I think I played a good match. More mistakes than usual with the forehand but I’m happy with how I started.”
US Open Men’s Singles first round results
Andrey Rublev (Rus) bt (8) Stefanos Tsitsipas (Gre) 6-4 6-7 (5-7) 7-6 (9-7) 7-5, Gilles Simon (Fra) bt Bjorn Fratangelo (USA) 5-7 7-5 7-5 7-5, Antoine Hoang (Fra) bt Leonardo Mayer (Arg) 3-6 6-2 6-7 (6-8) 6-1 6-3, (28) Nick Kyrgios (Aus) bt Steve Johnson (USA) 6-3 7-6 (7-1) 6-4, (24) Matteo Berrettini (Ita) bt Richard Gasquet (Fra) 6-4 6-3 2-6 6-2, Jordan Thompson (Aus) bt Joao Sousa (Por) 6-3 6-2 6-4, Alexei Popyrin (Aus) bt Federico Delbonis (Arg) 6-1 7-5 7-6 (7-5), Mikhail Kukushkin (Kaz) bt (10) Roberto Bautista Agut (Spa) 3-6 6-1 6-4 3-6 6-3, (13) Gael Monfils (Fra) bt Albert Ramos-Vinolas (Spa) 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 6-3, Marius Copil (Rom) bt Ugo Humbert (Fra) 6-3 5-7 7-6 (13-11) 4-6 6-1, Henri Laaksonen (Swi) bt Marco Cecchinato (Ita) 7-6 (7-3) 7-6 (8-6) 2-6 3-6 7-6 (7-2), Denis Shapovalov (Can) bt (18) Felix Auger-Aliassime (Can) 6-1 6-1 6-4, Pablo Andujar (Spa) bt (30) Kyle Edmund (Gbr) 3-6 7-6 (7-1) 7-5 5-7 6-2, Lorenzo Sonego (Ita) bt Marcel Granollers (Spa) 6-3 6-4 6-4, Alexander Bublik (Kaz) bt Santiago Giraldo (Col) 2-6 6-0 7-5 3-6 6-4, Thomas Fabbiano (Ita) bt (4) Dominic Thiem (Aut) 6-4 3-6 6-3 6-2, (6) Alexander Zverev (Ger) bt Radu Albot (Mol) 6-1 6-3 3-6 4-6 6-2, Frances Tiafoe (USA) bt Ivo Karlovic (Cro) 6-2 6-3 1-2 ret, Aljaz Bedene (Slo) bt Jozef Kovalik (Svk) 6-3 6-4 7-5, (29) Benoit Paire (Fra) bt Brayden Schnur (Can) 6-2 6-4 6-4, (20) Diego Sebastian Schwartzman (Arg) bt Robin Haase (Ned) 6-3 7-6 (8-6) 6-0, Egor Gerasimov (Blr) bt Lloyd George Harris (Rsa) 7-5 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (7-3), Tennys Sandgren (USA) bt Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (Fra) 1-6 6-7 (2-7) 6-4 7-6 (7-5) 7-5, Vasek Pospisil (Can) bt (9) Karen Khachanov (Rus) 4-6 7-5 7-5 4-6 6-3, (14) John Isner (USA) bt Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (Spa) 6-3 6-4 6-4, Jan-Lennard Struff (Ger) bt Casper Ruud (Nor) 6-4 6-4 6-4, Cedrik-Marcel Stebe (Ger) bt Filip Krajinovic (Ser) 6-3 4-6 6-4 7-6 (8-6), (22) Marin Cilic (Cro) bt Martin Klizan (Svk) 6-3 6-2 7-6 (8-6), (32) Fernando Verdasco (Spa) bt Tobias Kamke (Ger) 6-3 3-6 6-1 6-2, Hyeon Chung (Kor) bt Ernesto Escobedo (USA) 3-6 6-4 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 6-2, Thanasi Kokkinakis (Aus) bt Ilya Ivashka (Blr) 6-3 7-6 (10-8) 6-7 (4-7) 6-2, (2) Rafael Nadal (Spa) bt John Millman (Aus) 6-3 6-2 6-2