Nick Kyrgios has fired a shot at Novak Djokovic after the Serbian tennis superstar was disqualified from the US Open.
Djokovic was unceremoniously sent packing from the tournament after inadvertently hitting a lineswoman in the throat when he hit a ball away in frustration.
The world no.1 had just lost one game to his opponent, Pablo Carreno Busta, to fall behind 6-5 in the opening set.
As he walked to the sideline for the changeover, Djokovic smacked a ball behind him. The ball hit a female line judge, who dropped to her knees at the back of the court and reached for her neck.
After a discussion of several minutes with officials on court, including tournament referee Soeren Friemel, Djokovic walked over to shake hands with Carreno Busta.
Chair umpire Aurelie Tourte then announced that Djokovic had been default and the match was over.
Condemnation came swiftly afterwards, and Kyrgios, a consistently outspoken critic of Djokovic, was quick to make light of the situation.
No stranger to controversial on-court moments himself, the Aussie star fired a somewhat sarcastic suggestion in Djokovic’s direction.
“Swap me for jokers incident. ‘Accidentally hitting the ball kid in the throat’ how many years would I be banned for?” Kyrgios asked on Twitter, giving fans the option of answering five, 10 or 20 years.
Swap me for jokers incident. ‘Accidentally hitting the ball kid in the throat’ how many years would I be banned for?— Nicholas Kyrgios (@NickKyrgios) September 6, 2020
Hahahahahahahaha my goodness https://t.co/xWXCE26AaK— Nicholas Kyrgios (@NickKyrgios) September 7, 2020
It was in September 2019 that Kyrgios came dangerously close to being banned by the ATP, following an on-court meltdown at the Cincinnati Masters in which he swore and spit at umpire Fergus Murphy.
That transgression landed him a six-month probation, with the threat of a 16-week suspension.
Novak Djokovic slammed over US Open incident
Instead of facing up to the incident, the 17-time grand slam champion got in a car and drove off straight afterwards, in another act that's seen him come under fire.
“Unfortunately he’s compounding the error. He needs to face up to it, apologise and accept he made a mistake," former British star Tim Henman said on Prime Video’s coverage.
“By, in essence, running away, it’s going to go on longer.”
Another former British star Greg Rusedski agreed with Henman's stance, insisting Djokovic needed answer questions about the controversy.
“This was the correct decision under the rules regardless of intent or not. Novak should have stayed for the press conference & apologised,” he tweeted.
“We must take responsibility for our actions no matter how difficult the situation is.”