By Frank Pingue
NEWYORK (Reuters) – Australian Nick Kyrgios had not even started his second round match at the U.S. Open on Thursday before he found himself in the crosshairs of another umpire, this time over a phrase emblazoned on his popped up collar.
Kyrgios, already in hot water for calling the ATP “corrupt” this week, was going through his warm-up on the Grandstand court when he suddenly flipped up the collar on his shirt to reveal the words “Just Do You”, a play on Nike’s “Just Do It” slogan.
The umpire noticed and told Kyrgios the lettering had to be concealed. Kyrgios repeatedly asked why and then called for a supervisor, threatening not to start the match until he had been shown the rule book.
But Kyrgios quickly relented, took the court and came out firing as he put on a serving masterclass to blitz Frenchman Antoine Hoang and set up a third-round showdown with Russian Andrey Rublev.
“They thought it was a slogan, but it wasn’t. It wasn’t anything to do with a marketing thing. It was just a design issue,” Kyrgios told reporters.
“They must have read it wrong. I think they thought it said Just Do It, like the slogan. It was actually Just Do You. I think it was a mix-up. It’s all cleared up now. I can wear that. I can wear the collar up.”
Given the events of his opening match, during which Kyrgios demanded to know why more was not being done to control the crowd after a woman got in his line of sight during a serve, many fans would have anticipated another wild night.
But Kyrgios, apart from his usual outbursts, mostly aimed at himself or his box, steered clear off any major meltdown, although he did get into a conversation with the umpire in the third set when an ace appeared to give him a 5-3 lead.
The chair umpire called “game” but Hoang challenged the call and the ensuing review showed that Kyrgios’s first serve attempt was actually long.
An unhappy Kyrgios loudly questioned why a challenge was even allowed after “game” was called and again asked to speak to a supervisor, who calmly explained the rules on challenges.
“He called game. My opponent challenged once the umpire called game. I just thought that wasn’t right,” said Kyrgios.
(Reporting by Frank Pingue, editing by Nick Mulvenney)