(Reuters) – Nick Kyrgios looked to have turned over a new leaf in recent weeks, his playful banter with fans and improved focus helping him produce some of his best tennis, but his dark side returned in Montreal on Tuesday thanks to a row over a white towel.
The volatile Australian, who won the Citi Open in Washington on Sunday, was dumped out of the opening round of the Rogers Cup by Britain’s Kyle Edmund 6-3 6-4 after an angry exchange with the umpire saw him collect a code violation for an obscenity.
Kyrgios had asked the umpire before the match if he could be given a white towel instead of the tournament’s branded one and the 24-year-old threw a tantrum when he realised five games into the match his request had not been met.
“I’m not allowed to leave the chair,” the umpire said after the angry Australian had asked him to get the towel.
“You’re telling me that you can’t radio in just for one white towel?” a seething Kyrgios replied.
A ball boy finally handed Kyrgios a white towel, but it did little to help the Australian’s cause with Edmund putting on a serving masterclass to advance.
Kyrgios’ outburst comes after the Australian seemed to be reinventing himself as a crowd favourite in the weeks following his Wimbledon defeat by Rafa Nadal.
The superb tennis Kyrgios played in that match won him new admirers and the Australian has fed off the crowd at subsequent tournaments, sharing jokes with fans and even asking them where he should serve.
Next up for Edmund is a second-round meeting with eighth-seeded Russian Daniil Medvedev on Wednesday.
Big-serving American John Isner fired down 26 aces to help secure a 6-3 3-6 7-6(6) win over Australian Jordan Thompson.
The 12th seed, who had lost three of his four tiebreaks in the two weeks leading into the event, put an end to the tense battle when he fired down an ace on his third match point to set up a clash with Chilean Cristian Garin.
Canadian teenager Felix Auger-Aliassime also secured a spot in the second round of the U.S. Open tune-up with a 6-2 6-7(3) 7-6(3) win over compatriot Vasek Pospisil.
Awaiting 18-year-old Auger-Aliassime is 17th-seeded fellow Canadian Milos Raonic, the latter having won their only career meeting last year in Indian Wells.
Third seeded German Alexander Zverev won 80 percent of his first serve points to dispatch Cameron Norrie 7-6(4) 6-4 and set up a second-round meeting with Nikoloz Basilashvili, who took out Jan-Lennard Struff to advance.
British qualifier Dan Evans faces a tough second-round clash against top seed and defending champion Rafa Nadal after beating Australian Alex de Minaur 6-4 7-6(6).
Croatia’s Marin Cilic, the 14th seed, got past American qualifier Bradley Klahn 6-3 7-6(7) to advance, while Argentine Guido Pella upset Belgian 15th seed David Goffin 6-4 7-6(4).
In other first-round matches, Moldova’s Radu Albot beat Frenchman Gilles Simon while Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman and Australian lucky loser John Millman also advanced.
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto and Rory Carroll in Los Angeles; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty/Peter Rutherford)