(Reuters) – Australia’s Nick Kyrgios could find himself in hot water again after accusing men’s tennis governing body ATP of being “corrupt” following his U.S. Open first round victory on Tuesday.
The mercurial 24-year-old made the comment at a news conference when asked if he could have avoided a $113,000 fine after his second-round defeat by Russia’s Karen Khachanov at the Cincinnati Masters earlier this month.
Kyrgios was fined for unsportsmanlike conduct, verbal abuse and audible obscenity after arguing with the chair umpire and smashing two rackets during a meltdown.
Having dispatched American Steve Johnson 6-3 7-6(1) 6-4 on Tuesday night, Kyrgios said that the fine had not affected his preparations for the year’s final Grand Slam tournament.
“Not at all. The ATP is pretty corrupt anyway, so I’m not fussed about it at all,” Kyrgios told a news conference.
Asked by a reporter if being defaulted in Cincinnati would have meant avoiding the fine, Kyrgios said: “I got fined 113K for what?
“Why are we talking about something that happened three weeks ago when I just chopped up someone first round?”
The exchange continued even as Kyrgios’ agent John Morris and an ATP official tried to intervene, as the hot-tempered Australian asked the reporter if he had ever sworn at someone.
“You are also not an elite athlete. Just answer my question. Have you ever sworn at someone before?” he said.
Another journalist asked Kyrgios if he was suggesting that elite athletes were allowed to swear at people, to which he responded: “No. I am just saying people get frustrated. It happens.”
The ATP said earlier this month that it would see if more action, including an “additional fine and/or suspension” was warranted after Kyrgios’ Cincinnati outburst.
(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; editing by Sudipto Ganguly)