Nick Kyrgios claimed video games were ruining him and demanded a line umpire be removed during a typically dramatic exit from the US Open in New York.
- Nick Kyrgios sent down 30 aces and hit 47 winners, but his US Open still ended in straight sets against Russia’s Andrey Rublev
- The Australian complained repeatedly about the brightness of the lights, and got in trouble for alleged swearing
- He remains in the men’s doubles, where he is paired with Romanian Marius Copil
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 Russian Andrey Rublev.
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 a short time later when a line umpire reported Kyrgios for allegedly swearing.
The 28th seed wasn’t happy during a talking-to from the chair umpire, yelling “whistleblower” at the lines judge from his changeover chair before demanding that Eva Asderaki “get him off”.
“I said I can’t see a thing. That’s all I said,” Kyrgios claimed.
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.
A moment that summed up the match came in the second set, when Kyrgios produced a stunning point to go ahead 4-3.
He moved Rublev around the court, creating a brilliant drop shot, then when the Russian got his racquet to the ball Kyrgios looped a lob over his opponent, forcing him to backpedal — his return was met by a perfect drop volley from the Australian, which left Rublev sitting on the court in frustration.
As soon as he walked to his chair, however, with the crowd’s roars ringing in his ears, Kyrgios looked up at the umpire and said: “I don’t even want to be here. 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.
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 — who beat another Australian, Alex Popyrin, in four sets earlier on Saturday — Kyrgios’s immediate playing fate remains uncertain.
He faces potential bans of up to 12 months for the two “major offences”, according to the ATP Rule Book.
The exit of Kyrgios leaves Alex de Minaur as the only Australian remaining in the men’s singles at Flushing Meadows.