Nick Kyrgios returned to the tennis court for the first time in nearly a year this week in the ATP 250 Murray River Open, a warm-up for the Australian Open. He made it a memorable return when he got into a spat with the umpire. The source of the 25-year-old’s frustration came from whether he was correctly given a time violation.
It all began when in the final seconds of the time allotted for his serve in the second set — which he only got to because of new COVID rules that prevent ball children from handing competitors their towels, meaning he had to grab them himself between games — the umpire called a violation. In response, he stormed off to the bench while yelling at the official, “Bro, I just started serving.”
“I was in my motion, what are you talking about?” he continued. “I’m not playing, I’m not playing.”
Video replay showed Kyrgios was correct in that his serving motion had begun by the time the clock had hit zero, and by the time the violation was called. His righteous-by-video-confirmation anger grew.
“I’m not f—ing moving. It’s like you guys do it to just be funny,” Kyrgios said. “Bro, I was serving. Why’d you have to call it? Because the tennis is about the umpires, right? They come to see you. You’re an extra. You’re an extra for all of us.”
Court supervisor Cedric Mourier tried to quell the Australian player’s frustrations. Nevertheless, Kyrgios persisted.
“I saw the clock … I’m pulling my serve here and he called a time violation,” Kyrgios explained. “Tennis isn’t about him (the chair umpire). He’s an extra to make all this shit go smoothly, so why is he doing this?
“I have to walk back and forth to get my towel now, so he’s a smartass and calls it? And now I have to get fined for it, but I was playing by the rules.”
The incident came to an end after five minutes when Kyrgios asked Mourier if he would get fined for the spat. “I’ve lost enough money to these peanuts,” he concluded.
Even though the whole scene was a distraction from the match for those in attendance, it was far from that for the 25-year-old, who ended up claiming a 6-2, 7-6 victory.