'Pathetic stuff': Outrage over ugly aftermath to Kyrgios-Nadal thriller
Crowd members at Indian Wells have been called out by tennis fans after unsavoury scenes during Nick Kyrgios' dramatic quarter-final loss to Rafael Nadal.
Kyrgios left the tennis world stunned on Thursday after unravelling on a number of occasions in the 6-7, 7-5, 4-6 defeat to the World No.4.
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The 26-year-old Aussie had a running battle with chair umpire Carlos Bernardes throughout the contest as he pleaded with the official to control the crowd.
The Aussie frequently found himself having to stop in the middle of service games after being put off from fans shouting out in the stands.
On more than one occasion, Kyrgios' frustrations boiled over and he could be heard yelling out "shut the f*** up" in the first set tiebreak when he was 0-6 down.
The Aussie was hit with a code violation for that audible obscenity and because he'd already received one for smashing his racquet, Kyrgios was docked a point.
That handed the first set to Nadal in dramatic circumstances.
Kyrgios regrouped mentally and brushed aside the drama to send the match into a decider after a thrilling second set.
As the match approached its conclusion and Nadal started turning the screws though, the Aussie's mood again soured and his anger with the crowd returned.
Nadal remained as cool as ever to block out the drama around him and expertly see out the match to book a spot in the semi-finals and extend his unbeaten start to 2022 out to 19 matches.
However, the drama was far from over as Kyrgios smashed another racquet after shaking hands with Nadal at the end of the match.
That came really close! pic.twitter.com/8Bg4fJYLQG
— Billy Bang (@villievang) March 18, 2022
Footage showed just how close the racquet came to hitting a ball kid, who had to dodge out of the way after seeing it bounce off the court and fly towards the back of the court.
Kyrgios was then targeted with boos from sections of the crowd after the match, in scenes that divided the tennis world.
Worst of the match was, by far, the crowd.
Pathetic stuff, including the boos at the end of the match.
But that's what we have...
— José Morgado (@josemorgado) March 18, 2022
Rafa advances to SF, it's absolutely pathetic to hear crowds booing Kyrgios even now.. #IndianWells
— AK (@rwamit) March 18, 2022
The well-paid nutter in the crowd who knows exactly when to call out so that Kyrgios loses his serve.
— SuzyQue (@SuzyQue39953297) March 18, 2022
Kyrgios' attitude is reprehensible. But Nadal's fans don't respect opponents as usual. Between the 1st and 2nd Kyrgios serves, the crowd was always screaming...
— Bruno Rangel (@BrangelRangel) March 18, 2022
Nadal wins, Kyrgios spikes racket that goes flying and nearly hits a ballkid. Crowd boos as he exits.
Tough end to a pretty great match.
— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) March 18, 2022
I'm sorry but Nick Kyrgios deserved those boos.
Spitting? Breaking rackets? Cussing? Insulting Ben Stiller?
— 👓2️⃣1️⃣🎾 (@nowadaysin2022) March 18, 2022
Boos at the end were well deserved. The racquet he spiked could have hurt someone and landed pretty close to a ball kid. If anything what was pathetic was this idiotic act by Kyrgios.
— Haqqani H (@HHHaqqani) March 18, 2022
Pathetic is Kyrgios's behavior. And a crowd that boos him out of the court is not entirely wrong.
— Felipe Jiménez H. (@Felipe_J_H) March 18, 2022
Nick Kyrgios crashes out after volatile match
With comedian actor Ben Stiller in the stands, Kyrgios rebuked one fan asking them "are you good at tennis, why are you speaking?" before pointing to Stiller saying, "I don't tell him how to act".
The tense third-set exchange came before Kyrgios dropped his serve in the seventh game, allowing Nadal to stream to victory, ending a mighty tussle.
Kyrgios, the World No.132 and needing a wildcard to enter, made a mockery of his lowly ranking from early, breaking Nadal first and lengthening his run to 30 straight service holds at the tournament.
The 26-year-old fumed as he missed his chance to serve out the first set, smashing two racquets - handing the second to a child in the crowd.
After forcing a tiebreak, he lost it to love, handing Nadal the set with a code violation.
Kyrgios snapped back at an abusive crowd member as he waited for quiet on his serve, drawing the point penalty.
"When you do that I need to penalise you because it's too loud," umpire Bernardes told Kyrgios, who shook his head as he replied "unbelievable".
The circus atmosphere required another intervention from Bernardes, who leaned out of his chair to address one man, saying: "There are 10,000 people who want to watch tennis here and you're the only one who wants to scream like crazy. Please."
On the court, Kyrgios gathered his composure, closing out service games and disguised drop shots as he led 6-5.
At change of ends, he kept engaging Bernardes on the raucous crowd, saying: "You see how it affects the players? You don't protect the players from any of that stuff."
After levelling his head, he also levelled the match with another piece of magic, slipping on his way to reach a drop shot before scrambling an overhead to win the second set.
The momentum was Kyrgios' in the third, with Nadal holding serve with uncharacteristic sloppiness in the opening games.
That all changed as the Australian's head appeared turned by the crowd during the final games.
Nadal's victory was his 19th in succession this year, a run which has brought ATP titles in Melbourne and Acapulco and a record-breaking 21st slam at the Australian Open.
He marches on at Indian Wells, where he can improve to be world No.3 with a title, and will play either Carlos Alcaraz or reigning champion Cameron Norrie in the semi-finals.
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