The tennis season’s penultimate ATP Shanghai Masters 1000 in Shanghai started, and so did the controversy.
The day featured most of the opening round singles matches, providing some fine exhibition of tennis throughout the day’s play. There was Stan Wawrinka, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Gale Monfils, Nick Kyrgios and local rising star Yibing Wu to garner attention, which they did, for the most part.
Australian Nick Kyrgios was involved in a prolonged argument with French umpire Damien Dumusois during his first-round exit at the Shanghai Masters.
The 23-year-old world number 38 was beaten 4-6 6-4 6-3 by American qualifier Bradley Klahn, ranked 104. While Klahn’s win was a boost for confidence and ranking, it was marred by yet another Kyrgios show. And, by now, it should be clear that a Kyrgios show in a losing cause unquestionably refers to an unsportsmanlike behaviour.
Dumusois told Kyrgios a point in the second set was “really borderline,” appearing to suggest a lack of effort.
Kyrgios reacted by saying “I don’t care” and told Dumusois “you have no right to tell me that it’s poor”.
He later sarcastically asked Dumusois “was that borderline?” after serving an ace.
He was also made aware of his lack of motivation by the chair umpire. He didn’t take it well, and as a result, started lashing out on the umpire for the next 10 minutes. He had breached the unsportsmanlike line of conduct many times in the past in Shanghai, and today was nothing different.
Kyrgios lost five straight games from 4-4 in the second set in a match that lasted one hour and 17 minutes. It is the third successive year in which the Australian has gone out of the tournament in controversial fashion.
Last year, having earlier received a warning for smashing two balls out of court in frustration, he stormed off midway through his first-round match against Steve Johnson.
He was later fined $10,000 for unsportsmanlike conduct.
In 2016, Kyrgios patted the ball over the net several times when serving and began walking back to his chair before a serve from opponent Mischa Zverev had landed, leading to boos from the crowd. He was then fined $16,500 for his behaviour in the 6-3 6-1 defeat.
During his second-round match at the US Open in August, Kyrgios was given a pep-talk by umpire Mohamed Lahyani when he was trailing Pierre-Hugues Herbert by a set and a break.
The Australian fought back to win while Lahyani was suspended from two tournaments by the ATP.