NEWYORK (Reuters) – Officials should come down harder on Nick Kyrgios and default the Australian mid-match if he fails to play his best tennis at the U.S. Open, according to former Grand Slam champion Mats Wilander.
Kyrgios was fined a record $113,000 for a slew of breaches during his second round loss at Cincinnati and may be set for more sanctions after describing the men’s tour as “corrupt” following his first round win at Flushing Meadows on Tuesday.
The Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) were already assessing whether to punish Kyrgios further for his antics at Cincinnati, where he smashed two rackets and called the chair umpire the “worst ref ever”.
Seven-times Grand Slam champion Wilander questioned whether the 24-year-old hothead should have even been allowed to finish his match against Russian Karen Khachanov at Cincinnati.
“Well why is he allowed to finish a match like the one in Cincinnati to get to $113,000 worth of fines?” asked Wilander, a TV analyst for Eurosport.
“It is much easier for the umpire in the match to take a stand straight away.
“I don’t mind when he misbehaves. Obviously, I don’t like the bad language,” added Wilander.
“It’s just when he doesn’t try to play tennis, when he doesn’t try to win then I think the umpire needs to step in.
“I think in this situation, default him on the spot, rather than suspend him.”
Kyrgios, seeded 28th in New York, kept reasonably calm by his combustible standards in beating American Steve Johnson 6-3 7-6(1) 6-4 in the first round on Tuesday.
But he triggered another ATP investigation when he described the body as “pretty corrupt” during his post-match media conference.
He later rowed back on the comment in a statement posted on his Twitter feed, saying he had not made “the correct choice of words”.
“My point and intention was to address what I see as double standards rather than corruption,” he wrote.
Wilander agreed that the ATP was inconsistent in enforcing the rules for different players.
“I do think the rules are applied differently to everyone, I really do,” the Swede said, pointing to the leeway given to Spain’s 18-times Grand Slam champion Rafa Nadal on the service clock.
“I think it makes a difference, so when someone like Nadal sometimes goes over the time limit, I think they give him the benefit of the doubt because he tries so hard and he plays so hard every single point,” he said.
“If he goes over a second or two, then, no worries.
“Nick Kyrgios, I think they will let him do what he wants as long as he plays tennis.”
Kyrgios plays unseeded Frenchman Antoine Hoang in the second round on Thursday.
(Reporting by Ian Ransom in Melbourne; Editing by Nick Mulvenney)