(Reuters) – Bernard Tomic secured a controversial-yet-comical victory in an exhibition match against compatriot Nick Kyrgios at the Kooyong Classic on Wednesday when the Australian hit an ace on match point with an underarm serve from behind his legs.
Serving for the contest in the second set, world number 85 Tomic moved into his service stance before chipping one ball over the net while still bouncing another, catching Kyrgios, the umpire and spectators completely off guard.
Kyrgios was left laughing and shaking his head in disbelief as the umpire announced “game, set and match” with a 6-3 6-4 scoreline after a few moments of deliberation in the Australian Open warmup encounter.
“I don’t think there’s ever been a player like BT (Tomic),” Kyrgios, another of Australia’s more mercurial talents, told reporters.
Tomic has slipped down the world rankings from a career high number 17 in recent seasons, but has improved recently and won his first title in three years at the Chengdu Open in September.
“It is great to see him back out here as I know he was going through some rough times,” world number 51 Kyrgios, who himself has struggled for consistency, added.
“He won a title last year and it looks like he is carrying a bit of momentum which is good to see… he looks happy, he looks healthy. That’s the main thing… you never want to see a talent like that go down and keep being down.”
While Kyrgios saw the bright side of Tomic’s sneaky service winner, Australian Olympic hockey player Georgie Parker, who was watching in the stands, was less than impressed and took to Twitter to express her dismay.
“It’s an absolute joke. I’m paying money to be here and the two idiots aren’t giving two shits,” she wrote.
“It’s an exhibition match but you can still bet on it… How this isn’t match fixing is beyond me? Get these two off the circuit.”
Tomic and Kyrgios will both feature at the Australian Open in Melbourne next week.
(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by John O’Brien)