Nick Kyrgios calls Australian Open chair umpire 'stupid' after unnecessary time violation



Nick Kyrgios is no stranger to controversial moments or arguments with chair umpires. In the last year, the 24-year-old Australian tennis player had a meltdown at the Italian Open and threw a chair on the court, he drilled Rafael Nadal with the ball at Wimbledon and he smashed two rackets and yelled at the chair umpire at the Cincinnati Open.

So the fact that he got into it with the chair umpire during his third-round match at the Australian Open on Saturday isn’t super unusual. The difference this time appears to be that Kyrgios was entirely on the correct side of the spat.

During the fourth set of his four-hour, 26-minute match against Karen Khachanov, Kyrgios dove for the ball and won the point with an incredible shot. However, he injured his hand and was slow to get up.

His hand was also bleeding a little, so rather than toss his towel with blood on it back to the ball person, Kyrgios set it aside himself. But all that apparently took too much time for umpire Renaud Lichtenstein, who dealt Kyrgios a time violation.

Understandably, Kyrgios was not happy and threw his racket on the court while explaining to the umpire that his hand was bleeding.

“My hand is bleeding. My hand is bleeding. What do you want me to do? … There’s blood all over the towel. I told the ball kid not to touch it. That’s all I said. …

“What are you, stupid? Can you not see? Well, take it back then. Why do I get a time violation? My hand’s bleeding.”

Kyrgios then showed Lichtenstein the towel and said, “Is that good enough for you?”

And, according to ESPN, he later said to the umpire: “Don’t look at me, do your job. You think I’m going to play that slow, or what?”

Kyrgios’ hand after he wiped it off with a towel the first time.

No, in fact, Kyrgios doesn’t generally take his time and has been known to get annoyed when his opponents do, like in his controversial 2019 Wimbledon match against Nadal when he was mad the umpire let Nadal take as long as he did between serves. (He even mocked Nadal’s famous pre-serve movements earlier in the tournament after another time violation.)

So while Kyrgios often escalates situations and makes headlines for the wrong reasons, he’s right with this one — although it’s generally not advisable to call the chair umpire stupid. But he didn’t take an absurd amount of time to get back to the baseline, and even if he did, he had a pretty solid excuse.

He ended up beating Khachanov,  6-2, 7-6, 6-7, 6-7, 7-6 (8), in what he called “one of the craziest matches [he’s] ever been a part of” after dropping match points in the third and fourth sets.

In his press conference after, Kyrgios said his hand was “squirting blood,” adding:

“I’m not really too sure why I got a time violation. I just made sure the ball kid wasn’t touching my towel with blood on it. And then, the umpire just had no idea what was going on apparently. My hand’s usually brown, and it was covered in blood, so something wrong there.”

Next up for Kyrgios in the fourth round of the Australian Open is Nadal. Perfect.

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Via OverwatchWire


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