Thanasi Kokkinakis lets rip at umpire amid French Open controversy

Chair umpire Katarzyna Radwan-Cho left Thanasi Kokkiankis seeing red at the French Open in his third-rounds clash with Karen Khachanov.

Thanasi Kokkinakis gestures at the chair umpire on the left, and shakes hands with Karen Khachanov on the right.
Thanasi Kokkinakis was unhappy with the chair umpire throughout his third-round loss to Karen Khachanov at the French Open. Pictures: Getty Images

Thanasi Kokkinakis was left infuriated by the behaviour of the crowd at the French Open as he fell in five sets to 11th seed Karen Khachanov. Following a compelling five-set triumph over Stan Wawrinka in the second round, the Aussie star was unable to conjure up a similar performance, despite threatening a comeback.

Chair umpire Katarzyna Radwan-Cho was firmly in the 28-year-old's sights throughout the match, as Kokkinakis fumed about distractions from the crowd. He was eventually dispatched in four sets by Khachanov, 6-4 6-1 3-6 7-6 (7-5).

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Kokkinakis could rue the missed chance to force at fifth set, however his frustrations with the umpire weren't just limited to the crowd's behaviour. He fumed at Radwan-Cho after being denied a toilet break at the end of the second set.

It was eventful first two sets, with Kokkinakis twice imploring Radwan-Cho to address the crowd after claiming fans had been calling out between his first and second serves. He had been leading 4-2 at one point in the first set before Khachanov roared back, winning both and the second in an eyebrow-raising 6-1 steamrolling.

“Say something when he’s yelling out in-between my serves," Kokkinakis said to her at one point during the second set. "Maybe ‘merci’ or ‘stop?’ Yeah?"

It was at the end of the second set, when Kokkinakis asked to use one of his bathroom breaks, that the tension reached a fever pitch. Claiming he had cramped badly during the set as a result of not being able to go, Kokkinakis made an outrageous suggestion.

"All I'm asking is to try and piss," he said. "I get two for a match.

"Do you want me to piss on the court? Is that what you want? So what do you want now?

"I'm asking to go to the toilet. I like cramped in my last match cos I couldn't .. so brutal."

After losing the first set, the South Australian had moaned about the courts being watered, which Khachanov totally agreed with. "It's already the slowest possible conditions - ever - and you're putting water on a court that's not slippery," Kokkinakis said.

Kokkinakis stopped short in unlikely French Open comeback

Despite the drama, Kokkinakis battled back to take the third set, then have the world No.11 on tilt in the fourth. Khachanov has reached the last four at the past two grand slams after ousting Kokkinakis's doubles partner Nick Kyrgios from last year's US Open quarter-finals.

But he looked a beaten man when Kokkinakis served for the third set, then forged to a 4-1 lead in the fourth-set tiebreaker. Alas, Australia's last man standing in Paris once again fell in the third round - as he did in 2015 as a teenager - after surrendering his big fourth-set lead.

Despite his disappointing exit, Kokkinakis is projected to rise 23 spots to No.83 in the world, all but guaranteeing a direct entry to Wimbledon next month. However in worrying signs, after losing his cool mentally, Kokkinakis began to break down physically in the opening game of the second set.

Thansi Kokkinakis argues with chair umpire Katarzyna Radwan-Cho at the French Open.
Thansi Kokkinakis was frustrated by chair umpire Katarzyna Radwan-Cho multiple times during his third-round loss at the French Open. (Photo by EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP via Getty Images)

He repeatedly clutched at his right pec, tried to stretch the muscle between points and complained to his courtside box about having "zero power on serve". Agitated enough over a line call that went against him, Kokkinakis then blew his stack about the "useless" chair umpire for being unable to control the crowd before dropping his opening service game of the second set.

Kokkinakis rallied to win the third set, raising hopes that the unfulfilled talent could reach the second week of a grand slam for the first time - some eight years after making the last 32 in Paris for his previous best major result. But it was not to be, with Kokkinakis eventually submitting after three hours and 42 minutes.

With AAP

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