Nick Kyrgios has crashed out of the US Open in straight sets, with ESPN seemingly so sick of his antics that they cut to another match.
Kyrgios claimed video games were ruining him and demanded a linesman be removed during a typically dramatic exit in New York on Saturday.
In a huge opportunity lost just as the draw had opened up for the mercurial talent, Kyrgios crashed out of the tournament with a 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 third-round loss to red-hot Russian Andrey Rublev.
Down two sets to love, some felt Kyrgios’ effort in the third set was severely lacking.
That feeling seemed to replicated by the host broadcaster, who cut to Gael Monfils’ clash with Denis Shapovalov on American TV - despite the fact Kyrgios’ match was still going.
Kyrgios’ effort has been so lacking ESPN has now cut to Armstrong Stadium.— Sean Kent (@seankent) September 1, 2019
He’s got a heart the size of a pea. Should be a grand slam winner but 3rd exit seems about right. Cant believe people continue to pay hard-earned money to see him. Bring back Hewitt, Rafter and The Poo.— Superted (@Superted6000) September 1, 2019
@espn Way to jinx Kyrgios with that split-screen nonsense!— Mark Buchanan (@Mark_Buchanan_) September 1, 2019
@Goonergal24 ESPN is currently showing Kyrgios/Rublev and Monfils/Shapo on split screen with audio from both matches— LosDosMos (@LosDosMos) September 1, 2019
That Shapavalo-Monfils match was something else. And then you have Kyrgios who doesn’t bother— Deepak Singh (@mndoci) September 1, 2019
Monfils and Shapovalov left it all on the court. Meanwhile, Kyrgios couldn’t be bothered at times tonight. #USOpen— Agahzi Giorgis (@RadioAgaz) September 1, 2019
Lmao TSN stopped showing Kyrgios— Célaine (@TripleBreakPt) September 1, 2019
ESPN commentators were critical of Kyrgios’ showing late in the match.
“Don’t make comparisons to John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors because that is doing them a disservice,” one commentator said.
“They were some of the ultimate competitors, yes they had the antics and their antics were short-lived. There was a blow with an umpire then they got on with it.
“The disappointment with Kyrgios is when he doesn’t compete hard enough.
“We saw in his opening two rounds how good he can be when he competes well, but when he doesn’t I don’t like it.”
Kyrgios’ bizarre Call of Duty rant
Kyrgios spent most of the match complaining of being blinded by the lights on Arthur Ashe Stadium.
He needed eye drops from the tournament physio just three games in.
"I throw the ball up in the air and I can't see for, like, 30 seconds after," he said, adding that he was guessing where the next ball was going to be when he tried to hit it.
But there was bigger trouble shortly after when a linesman reported Kyrgios for allegedly swearing.
The 28th seed wasn't happy during a talking-to from the chair umpire, yelling at the linesman from his changeover chair: "whistleblower" before demanding Eva Asderaki to "get him off".
"I said I can't see a thing. That's all I said," Kyrgios insisted.
The tennis enigma then thundered down four consecutive aces in a spectacular 43-second game to force a tiebreaker, only to lose it as Rublev struck the first major blow.
"Gaming, bro. Call of Duty has ruined me," Kyrgios moaned to his box about the first-person shooter video game early in the second set.
He then later claimed: "I don't even want to be here, bro. I just wanna be home".
Kyrgios didn't have to wait long, blowing a 4-0 lead in the second-set tiebreaker and then dropping serve in the sixth game of the third set before submitting after one hour and 51 minutes.
"He played great tonight. Was super aggressive. I never felt comfortable," Kyrgios said.
"That was just credit to him playing his game. Yeah, it was tough.
"I mean, I had chances. I just didn't take them ... nowhere near my best tennis, but it is what it is."
While Rublev, who last month inflicted the quickest defeat on Roger Federer in 16 years, can look forward to a last-16 clash with Italian Matteo Berrettini, Kyrgios's immediate playing fate remains uncertain.
The combustible Canberran is the subject of two ATP investigations into his conduct in Cincinnati and New York over the past three weeks.
He faces potential bans of up to 12 months for the two "major offences", according to the ATP Rule Book.
Kyrgios's exit, plus Alexei Popyrin's four-set loss earlier on Saturday to Berrettini, leaves Alex de Minaur as the only Australian remaining in the men's singles at Flushing Meadows.