Nick Kyrgios is staring down the barrel of a suspension after calling an umpire a “f***ing tool” and spitting in his direction at the Cincinnati Masters.
Kyrgios lost the plot after winning the first set against Karen Khachanov on Wednesday, capitulating to crash out 7-6 (3), 6-7 (4), 2-6 in extraordinary scenes.
After producing a remarkable comeback to win the first set from 2-5 down, Kyrgios imploded after a fiery battle with chair umpire Fergus Murphy.
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It all unravelled when Murphy hit Kyrgios with a time violation for taking too long between serves during the second set.
The Aussie said: “That’s hilarious, if Rafa plays that quick I’m retiring from tennis. Absolute rubbish … disgrace.
“Get me some footage of Rafa playing that quick, that game. If you can find any of that I’ll shut my mouth and never speak again.
He conceded a point penalty after calling Murphy the “worst f***ing referee ever”, before walking off court and smashing two racquets in the tunnel after pretending to take a toilet break.
However he saved the worst for last, spitting in Murphy’s direction and refusing to shake his hand at the end of the match.
“We haven’t heard the end of this and from what he did at the end was quite frankly, truly disgusting and a big fine for Kyrgios,” one TV commentator said, before calling it a “setback for tennis”.
The rest of the tennis world was equally as shocked, with many calling for the ATP to suspend Kyrgios.
Think that might be the end of Kyrgios for 2019. I'm for his antics, but there is a clear line and he crossed it tonight. Could be a lengthy suspension on the way. #ATP— Scott Pryde (@sk_pryde) August 15, 2019
Kyrgios’ other antics are fun and entertaining but this right here is just flat out disrespectful..— Damon Kecman (@DownWithDamon) August 15, 2019
Cmon man, really? https://t.co/jl3xJnyNEI
Kyrgios should not play again this year. At the very least. That was the most disgusting behaviour I've ever seen on a tennis court. Shame on the @ATP_Tour for allowing this to happen over and over. #CincyTennis— WTAADDICT (@wtaaddict) August 15, 2019
I’d imagine Kyrgios will be suspended for the rest of the 2019 season at least.. could potentially be longer.— Jedd Zetzer (@JeddZetzer) August 15, 2019
You just cannot spit at at umpire, on top of everything else he did. #CincyTennis
Kyrgios spits on the way out after shaking Kachanov's hand and of course does not shake Fergus.— Brian Gerstein (@RaptorsDevotee) August 15, 2019
Cherry on top, after Kyrgios’ inevitable loss, spits in the direction of the ump. So much wasted talent in such an unprofessional player.— Kyle Norris (@kdnorris111) August 15, 2019
Kyrgios shakes hands with Khachanov, looks at the umpire then spits in his direction.....and that wasn't the only bad thing he done all match. One tweet wouldn't cover it. Cowan in commentary calling this "a setback in tennis."— Jake Davies (@jakedavi5) August 15, 2019
I love Nick Kyrgios but the end where he spit towards the ump just wow... #CincyTennis— Steve Merriam (@TellEmSteveJ) August 15, 2019
Either way, the temperamental star may face significant fines for smashing two racquets in the vicinity of the court, verbally abusing Murphy, and not actually using the bathroom after requesting a toilet break.
Kyrgios, who won his sixth career ATP singles crown two weeks ago in Washington, also complained last week in Toronto in an apparent dispute as to why he could not have a white towel during a match.
The World No.27, rarely far from controversy, was defaulted three months ago after throwing a chair as he quit a match in Rome.
Khachanov will play Frenchman Lucas Pouille in Thursday's third round.
De Minaur takes down 7-foot giant
Earlier, Alex de Minaur glided into the third round with a straight-sets win over home hope Reilly Opelka.
The world No.38 Australian beat the American wildcard 7-6 (7-3) 6-4 in one hour and 34 minutes to make the third round of an ATP Masters tournament for the second time.
De Minaur will face Yoshihito Nishioka in the round of 16 after the Japanese stunned compatriot and close friend Kei Nishikori 7-6 (7-2) 6-4.
Nishikori was not the only favourite to bow out on Wednesday, with Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev joining him in the exit lounge.