Nick Kyrgios and John McEnroe have teamed up to dish out the ultimate serve at an umpire at the Laver Cup, after a contentious decision had them fuming.
At a crucial juncture in the second set, with Kyrgios trying to save a break point at 1-3 with Federer holding an advantage, a line judge called his ace out.
Despite the Hawk-eye system showing otherwise, the chair umpire ruled the point to be recontested – and then all hell broke loose.
McEnroe wound back the clock to deliver a vintage spray, while Kyrgios added his two cents through a vocal protest.
Kyrgios branded the decision a “sh** judgement”, as McEnroe tongue-in-cheek commented he hoped the umpire would “get a little present after the match”.
Rather than being a role model for Kyrgios as captain of Team World, McEnroe let off some steam as he unloaded and questioned the decision.
“Are you going to say that that affected his return?” asked McEnroe of the chair umpire.
“In your opinion, you think that affected his return?”
“In what chance is he ever going to return that? A 0.001 chance? C’mon man!”
“You’re telling me he called it before Roger hit it?” Kyrgios asked in frustration.
“You are delusional.”
Some fans labelled the combined outburst as a sign of “disrespect” on social media, while others thought they had every right to be mad at the decision as Federer would never have returned the ace.
— Sandile Ndzekeli (@Sandile_GAM) September 22, 2018
I enjoyed Roger enjoying Kyrgios and McEnroe arguing with the umpire.
— Aditi Verma (@aditi0703) September 23, 2018
McEnroe is a disgraceful legend tbh. He should be guiding Kyrgios through moments like that, not telling the young lad (who has a history of losing his cool) how to lose your cool and then stand over him watching him mock the umpire in silence. Wtf?
— it's ya boy (@PhenomenalWoo) September 23, 2018
Hate to say it but Kyrgios and McEnroe are right…. It didn't affect Federer's return at all therefore it's Kyrgios' point. You can't argue with an umpire though.
— Mark. ❤Grace❤ – #TeamEurope 🇪🇺 (@MrAmazinglyAce) September 22, 2018
McEnroe was in his element during the Kyrgios loss to Federer earlier. I sure hope Serena sees the highlights lol!
— Tha Magnificent 'Droid (@ImmortalCritic) September 22, 2018
It changed nothing, Federer was outplaying Kyrgios regardless of that call. The attitude of both him and McEnroe stunk. I feel sorry for the umpires with the kind of abuse they have to put up with sometimes.
— Joanne Marie Newton (@Aroreiel) September 23, 2018
@NickKyrgios yes people will say you need to put bad decisions behind you, but come on, Roger was never going to return Nick's serve and wrong decision made by umpire. Definitely changed the momentum and possibly outcome of match.
— Jodie Milne (@Chedikaty) September 22, 2018
Despite some arguing over whether the decision would have changed the course of the set, it’s hard to doubt Federer’s hold on the match after his absolute masterclass.
Besides the controversial moment, the Swiss maestro was barely ruffled as he cruised to a 6-3, 6-2 win over Kyrgios.
“I felt good from the beginning and that’s not usual,” Federer said.
“We need some matches to get going, but today I was very clear in my game plan and I got wonderful support from my team.”
Kyrgios, the high-spirited Australian, tends to reserve his best for the greats of the game.
He regularly loses to inferior players but is 1-3 against Federer.
And so the game between the two immensely talented players went again, just as it had three weeks ago at the US Open, as Kyrgios was left in awe of the shot selection employed by Federer.
It took just three games for Federer to break Kyrgios in the opening set, but he waited even less in the second, breaking him in his first service game of the second set with a masterful combination of play that kept the crowd in rapture.
That is not to take anything away from Kyrgios, however.
At times, he also was sharp, and sent blitzing passing shots past Federer but the glimpses of brilliance were far too few – including this winner after putting his body on the line:
But by the end of the one-hour and 40-minute encounter, Federer simply proved a superior player.
He only found his rhythm more in the second set to win 22 more winners than Kyrgios and served out the match with an eighth ace.
Zverev powers Europe to a commanding lead
Earlier, Zverev saved a match point to defeat John Isner in day two’s opening singles rubber.
Zverev, 21, dug deep to hold off the big-serving Isner to win 3-6, 7-6 (8/6), 10-7.
Under the format being used for the tournament, a 10-point tiebreak is used instead of a decisive third set.
After dominating Friday’s opening day, winning three out of the four matches, Europe’s progress looked to be checked after Isner grabbed the first set against Zverev.
But rising German star Zverev showed great determination in saving a match point at 6-5 down in the second-set tie-break to level the contest.
Zverev then raced into the lead in the 10-point match tie-break before closing out for the win, rallying to beat new dad Isner.
Under the scoring system for the Laver Cup, victories on day two are worth two points each, with victories on day three rising to three points.
Europe needs only 13 points to take the title, which is being held for the second time.