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Nick Kyrgios called umpire 'stupid' after time penalty at Australian Open

Nick Kyrgios didn't like that he got a time violation during his third-round match at the Australian Open, and he let the umpire know about it. (REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji)

A Nick Kyrgios match isn’t complete without theatrics or an outburst, right? On the sixth day of the Australian Open, we got both.

Kyrgios was playing Karen Khachanov in Round 3 on Saturday and made a spectacular save in the fourth set. Tied 4-4, Kyrgios returned a shot that looked impossible. The ball had sailed wide left, and he had to fully extend to save it. Kyrgios ended up doing a full roll on the ground as he landed, and Khachanov couldn’t get to the ball in time.

Kyrgios won the point, but he injured his hand on the ground as he was rolling. He used a towel to wipe off the blood, and instead of handing it to a ball kid to take care of (which would have been dangerous to do without gloves), Kyrgios walked the the towel back to the side himself.

It was a very thoughtful and safety-minded gesture, but umpire Renaud Lichtenstein didn’t think so. He gave Kyrgios a time penalty, and Kyrgios wasn’t happy about it. You can see the save and Kyrgios’s outburst starting at 1:15 in the video below.

Once Lichtenstein gave the time penalty, Kyrgios threw his racket on the ground and started berating him.

“My hand is bleeding. My hand is bleeding. What do you want me to do?” Kyrgios said. “… 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 isn’t known as a slow player, and getting a time penalty for stopping a ball kid from touching a towel with someone else’s blood on it brought him to the boiling point. Kyrgios is lucky he didn’t get an additional penalty on top of that.

The time violation didn’t stop Kyrgios from eventually winning the match in five sets and advancing to a fourth-round showdown with Rafael Nadal. Yes, the same Rafael Nadal that Kyrgios made fun of in the second round by imitating his on-court mannerisms.

Nadal was asked about Kyrgios after his own third-round victory over Pablo Carreño Busta, and he shared his opinion.

Via the Associated Press:

“It’s clear, of course, that when he does stuff that in my opinion is not good, I don’t like (it). When he plays good tennis and he shows passion for this game, he is a positive player for our tour, and I want my tour bigger, not smaller. So the players who make the tour bigger are important for the tour,” Nadal said. “When he’s ready to play his best tennis and play with passion, (he) is one of these guys. When he’s doing the other stuff, of course I don’t like (it).”

The last time Nadal and Kyrgios faced each other was July 2019, and Kyrgios’s famous temperament showed up. He admitted to trying to hit Nadal with a ball, but refused to apologize for it. Since neither one has likely forgotten that incident, their matchup in Round 4 is bound to be full of fireworks.

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