LONDON – Nick Kyrgios was embroiled in a bizarre mid-match rules lesson as the controversial Australian blasted his way into the Wimbledon third round.
Kyrgios was in typically feisty mood during his 6-3, 6-4, 7-5 victory against Robin Haase on Thursday.
The 23-year-old received a code violation for swearing before a frank exchange of views with umpire James Keothavong.
Kyrgios had to have the foot-fault rule explained to him by Keothavong after questioning a line-judge's call.
Reacting to the call, Kyrgios said to the umpire: “What, after I hit it? How's that possible?” to which the British official responded: “That's what he has to do. He can't call it before you hit it.”
Keothavong's response drew a smirk from Kyrgios and laughter from the crowd on Court Three.
Then, between sets, Keothavong got down from his chair to demonstrate the rule as Kyrgios watched on.
There was more dialogue between the pair when Kyrgios was given a code violation after being reported for his language by the line judge.
Despite the incident, Kyrgios insisted he had no problem with the foot fault call after the match.
“He told me at any point if your foot crosses the line, it's a foot fault. I mean, I just got too close to the T,” he said.
But Kyrgios, who has been in hot water for his attitude on numerous occasions in the past, wasn't so forgiving of his press conference inquisitors.
Asked a question about his code violation, with a reporter suggesting he appeared upset, he replied grumpily: “Not upset at all.”
When the same journalist asked why Kyrgios spoke to the umpire about it if he wasn't upset, the world number 18 said: “Because you generally talk to someone when you're curious about something. Doesn't make you upset, champ. Good question.”
Quizzed on his recent fine for simulating a lewd act with a water bottle during the Queen's Club tournament last month, Kyrgios was more accepting of responsibility.
“Just stupidity. Stupidity pays a price,” he said.
Kyrgios, who famously stunned Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon in 2014, has the game to thrive on grass.
But, with a tricky tie against former US Open finalist Kei Nishikori up next, he acknowledged he needs to keep his temper in check.
“It's hard for me to find the balance sometimes. When I'm in a calm place with a lot of energy, I think that's when I play my best tennis,” he said.
Agence France-Presse (AFP)