Explosive tennis star Nick Kyrgios is an embarrassment to Australian sport, domestic media screamed Friday, branding his latest meltdown a “vile” new low.
The temperamental 24-year-old was fined US$113,000 after smashing two racquets, launching an abusive tirade at chair umpire Fergus Murphy before appearing to spit at him during his Cincinnati Masters defeat to Russia’s Karen Khachanov.
The ATP warned him that he could also face another suspension from the sport once a full investigation has taken place.
Veteran Channel Nine television sports presenter Tony Jones said he should be immediately banned from the upcoming US Open.
“Yet again Nick Kyrgios has proved himself to be an embarrassment to Australian sport. Quite possibly world sport,” he said on the broadcaster’s website.
“Surely tennis authorities need to show something that resembles a backbone and deal with him accordingly.
“It’s time the ATP adopted a heavy-handed approach and ban Kyrgios from this month’s US Open,” added Jones, who hosts Nine’s Australian Open coverage.
Former Australian Sports Anti-doping Agency boss Richard Ings, who used to be an ATP Tour umpire and administrator, called him “despicable”.
“Nick Kyrgios’s behaviour in this match was, yet again, that of a jerk,” he said on Twitter, adding that Murphy was well-respected on the tour.
“No umpire deserves to be treated as Nick Kyrgios treated Fergus. It was despicable behaviour rightly fined by ATP.”
The Australian newspaper was brutal in its assessment of Kyrgios’ behaviour, saying his “most vile outburst yet” was “akin to a child having a tantrum”, while the tabloid Sydney Daily Telegraph said: “The Nick Kyrgios show has sunk to a new low.”
Kyrgios, who picked up four fines of US$20,000 each for unsportsmanlike conduct plus another US$20,000 for verbal abuse, has a history of poor behaviour.
In 2015, in one of his more notorious outbursts, he was fined for making a sexually disparaging remark in Canada about the girlfriend of three-time major winner Stan Wawrinka.
The following year, he was banned for eight weeks after being accused of not trying at the Shanghai Masters.
While the fiery Australian won some support on Twitter, with one user noting that “until his performance no one even knew there was a tennis tournament in Cincinnati”, the reaction was largely negative.
“Get him off the tennis circuit until he stops behaving like a toddler,” said one tweet, while another noted that “in any other workplace, @NickKyrgios alleged verbal abuse of the ref, explosive aggression even to equipment would likely get someone sacked”.