Life is rarely dull with Nick Kyrgios on court and the Australian found himself involved in more controversy when he was warned for shouting at a ball boy at the French Open on Sunday.
The volatile 21-year-old 17th seed was being made to battle hard by unheralded Italian Marco Cecchinato and briefly lost his cool towards the end of the first set before winning an entertaining first-round clash 7-6(6) 7-6(6) 6-4.
When Kyrgios shouted “towel” to the ball boy, umpire Carlos Ramos deemed his tone to be overly aggressive, handing out a warning to which the Australian reacted in heated fashion.
“I thought it was a little bit rough. Obviously it was just his personal opinion on how he thought that I went about it, but, I mean, it is what it is,” Kyrgios, who was handed a suspended ban last year after making smutty remarks about the girlfriend of Stan Wawrinka while playing the Swiss in Canada.
“I think, you know, every time I get a towel from a ball kid I say thank you,” he added.
“Sometimes when you’re a bit frustrated you do, you know, not scream at them but you do get a little mad at them. I didn’t get mad at all. I just said it a little bit loud.”
Kyrgios’s on-court demeanour divides opinion.
Some think he adds spice to the men’s Tour, while others believe his behaviour goes over the line.
Last year he was accused of “tanking” at Wimbledon in a match against Richard Gasquet when he appeared to stop trying in one game. In the same match he hugged a ball boy.
His matches are usually littered with expletives too, although he is not the only player guilty of that.
This year Kyrgios appears to be controlling his emotions and has shown great consistency, winning his first ATP title in Marseille and reaching semi-finals in Miami, Dubai and Estoril, as well as a quarter-final on clay in Madrid.
While Kyrgios did not criticise the umpire for Sunday’s incident, a fairly minor one compared to previous escapades, he hinted that his behaviour on court is scrutinised more than that of other top players.
Referring to world number Novak Djokovic’s run-in with the umpire at in the Rome final last week when the Serb lost his cool over the slippery conditions, Kyrgios said: “If that was me that did that, it would be an absolute circus.”
On a quiet day, Kyrgios’s match was one of the highlights.
Having taken the first set in a tight tiebreak he found himself 4-6 down in a second breaker, but played a brilliant drop shot to save one of the set points before taking control.
His next opponent will be Dutch lucky loser Igor Sijsling.