Nick Kyrgios is almost as well known for his meltdowns on the pitch as he is for his superb play. In June, the tennis pro came under fire at Wimbledon when he was seen spitting at a fan during a first-round match. According to Kyrgios, his heated reaction was the result of the fan’s constant prodding. “He literally came to the game literally not even really supporting anyone,” the Australian told ESPN on June 28. Kyrgios continued to comment on the incident, saying the interaction is emblematic of how people on social media believed they could rattled off negative comments with impunity.
At the following Grand Slam, Kyrgios once again let his temper wash over him. During a second-round match at the US Open on September 1, Kyrgios erupted and started spitting towards his own player’s box. “Go home if you don’t fucking want to support me bro,” he called out to his group, according to Eurosport. Kyrgios won that match in four sets and had cooled down for the press conference. “I feel like this is probably the biggest pressure I’ve had on myself. I know I’m capable of going to a Slam final now and I really want to get there,” he said when discussing expectations for the tournament.
The outburst earned Kyrgios a $7,500 fine – the highest in US Open history – but less than a week later he eclipsed that outburst with an on-court tirade.
Nick Kyrgios turns ballistic after losing
Nick Kyrgios lost in five sets in the US Open quarterfinals to Karen Khachanov in the early hours of September 7, imploding immediately after shaking hands with the referee. The Australian grabbed a racquet and smashed it to the ground several times before throwing it furiously. Immediately afterwards, Kyrgios grabbed another racquet from his pocket and smashed it to the ground as well. During the press that followed, Kyrgios expressed his dismay at his performance. “I honestly feel like shit. I feel like I let so many people down,” he said, per Yahoo! Sports. “I’m obviously devastated.”
The on-pitch tantrum was not well received by the sports community. Cricket commentator Alan Wilkins wanted the ATP to punish Kyrgios harshly. “How much uglier does it get than that? Ban him so he learns to miss the sport that has given him such a good life,” Wilkins tweeted. Others mentioned extrajudicial allegations against the tennis star. “Considering the domestic violence charges against him, this is quite a horrific sight for Nick Kyrgios and the sport of tennis,” sportswriter Jon Jacobson tweeted after the outbreak.
Fans also expressed their disappointment at Kyrgios’ explosive reaction to the loss. “It’s not passion, it’s irritation and has no place in top-class sport,” tweeted one viewer. Many pointed out that this had become a pattern for Kyrgios. “Such a bad loser, he’s not capable of playing an entire match like a decent human,” added another.