Nick Kyrgios has surprisingly managed to avoid an immediate ban from the ATP Tour following the conclusion of an investigation into his explosive second-round match in Cincinnati last month.
The peak body for tennis is expected to come under the microscope after instead opting to give the firebrand Australian a 16-week suspended ban and fine.
'THERE’S NO POINT': Nick Kyrgios explains break from tennis
The suspension and fine of $US25,000 (A37,000) will kick in if Kyrgios commits a similar offence within a six-month period, while he must also agree to continued support from a mental skills coach during tournaments plus seek extra help from a specialist in behavioural management before the end of the year.
Kyrgios had already been handed a record fine of $US113,000 ($A167,000) after committing eight offences during his second-round match with Karen Khachanov, including verbally abusing umpire Fergus Murphy and spitting towards the official at the Cincinnati Masters in August.
He later said "the ATP was pretty corrupt anyway" before backing down from the claims.
The ATP determined that did not constitute a major offence and determined no further penalties would apply.
Fans, including lead tennis reporter Ben Rothenberg, were bewildered why it took the peak body so long to hand down a slap on the wrist.
Others were also questioning the timing of the bam after Kyrgios revealed a shoulder injury.
After waiting more than a month, until after his headlining at Laver Cup and an injury withdrawal from Asia, ATP gives Nick Kyrgios six months of probation for his Cincinnati antics. A violation of the probation terms would trigger a 16-week suspension. pic.twitter.com/c7TihUIkIq— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) September 26, 2019
I was fairly agnostic on what Kyrgios’ punishment should have been, but far more aggrieved by the ATP’s delaying. Utterly no reason this should have taken six weeks to determine.— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) September 26, 2019
Are we talking about a lunatic lama here? Needs a shrink on site & for Christmas! That's a joke! Frankly as @NickKyrgios I would just play some futures & @WorldTeamTennis for those 16 weeks since they're not mentioned, then come back & win @AustralianOpen 👌 @marcomazz @antogar78 https://t.co/sQZYXzirqn— Hrothger Vierhand (@hrothger4hand) September 26, 2019
So basically....he’s been given a warning? 😒 not any actual repercussions for a whole year of bs?— 💜 Rebbie 🏆19 💜 (@HumbleNotepad) September 26, 2019
The 16 week suspension needs to start at the beginning of 2020 in my opinion. Not now when he’s injured and it’s nearing the end of the season..— kristen // lc champs! 💙🇪🇺 (@thetommocraic) September 26, 2019
The investigation was conducted by Gayle David Bradshaw, executive vice president, rules & competition, who concluded that Kyrgios "has been found to have committed Aggravated Behaviour under the Player Major Offense provision in the ATP Code."
After a string of incidents over the past five years former Australian greats Pat Rafter and Rod Laver had called for Kyrgios to receive a ban.
Kyrgios takes break
Nick Kyrgios’ season has gone from bad to worse after the Aussie’s shock first round loss in China.
Kyrgios is set to sit out the remainder of the Asian swing to allow himself time to recover from a shoulder injury in time for the Davis Cup.
The 24-year-old crashed out of the Zhuhai Championships on Wednesday after losing in the first round to Italian veteran Andreas Seppi 7-6 (7-5) 6-1.
The controversial Canberran was leading 4-1 in the first set when his shoulder started playing up, hampering his blistering serve, the most lethal weapon in his game.
“I was battling with a bit of a shoulder/collar bone injury,” the Australian sixth seed, who also withdrew from last weekend's Laver Cup with the same injury, told reporters.