Controversial tennis star Nick Kyrgios has made an expletive-laden exit from the ATP Masters tournament at Indian Wells in California, meaning he will avoid a potential quarter-final showdown with Bernard Tomic who last week questioned his honesty.
The extraordinary capitulation followed fellow Aussie Tomic’s straight-sets win over American Rajeev Ram.
Kyrgios’ 7-6 (7-4) 7-5 loss to Spain’s Albert Ramos-Vinolas came in his first match since missing Australia’s Davis Cup loss to the United States with a virus.
Last week, Kyrgios and Tomic had been involved in a war-of-words following the former’s Davis Cup withdrawal. A frustrated Tomic accused Kyrgios of feigning illness.
At Indian Wells, Kyrgios was called by a line judge for an on-court expletive, prompting French chair umpire Damien Dumusois to dock Kyrgios a point at 2-2 in the second set.
“You used the F word,” Dumusois said.
The 20-year-old protested and, after bizarrely taking a seat in the crowd, he approached the umpire.
“I didn’t say anything,” he said.
Dumusois replied: “Nick. You know we are strict on the F word … I have a report from an official. I trust him.”
Kyrgios: "What the f–k" to the chair umpire…..Umpire: "Please don't use the F-word Nick." Classic pic.twitter.com/xzQKdDpogY
— Andrew Jerell Jones (@sluggahjells) 12 березня 2016 р.
Kyrgios could then be heard on the television broadcast desperately pleading with Dumusois at the ensuing changeover after falling behind 3-2.
“What the f**k just happened?” Kyrgios said.
“Please Nick, stop using ‘F’ words,” the official responded.
“I didn’t say anything mate,” Kyrgios was heard saying.
“I don’t wanna play anymore, this is bulls**t,” Kyrgios added.
During the opening set, Kyrgios was warned for hitting a ball high into the stands after a long return on the first point of the tiebreak.
He came to Indian Wells already under a fitness cloud, having battled a severe virus.
In his post-match press conference, Kyrgios said he still had not fully recovered from his illness.
“I’m just not where I’d like to be,” he said.
His latest outburst came less than a month after the expiration of his 28-day suspended ban for aggravated behaviour.
Kyrgios incurred the wrath of the ATP for his unsavoury sledging of French Open champion Stan Wawrinka at the Montreal Masters last August.
He told Wawrinka: “[Thanasi] Kokkinakis banged your girlfriend.”
The derogatory comments about Wawrinka’s girlfriend earned Kyrgios the suspended 28-day ban – lasting six months – and a $US25,000 ($A33,500) fine.
Last week, Kyrgios became embroiled in another spat when Tomic accused his countryman of faking an illness to miss Australia’s first-round Davis Cup tie in Melbourne which the hosts lost 3-1.
Tomic said he’d lose respect for Kyrgios if the Canberran played in Indian Wells after pulling out of the Davis Cup tie before the pair were pitted in the same quarter of the draw in the Californian desert.
But Kyrgios’s loss to Ramos-Vinolas has scuppered any possibility of a spicy confrontation this week.
Tomic, the 17th seed, next faces Canadian 12th seed Milos Raonic for a spot in the last 16 after hitting eight aces and not a single double-fault in his impressive win over Ram, a recent Delray Beach runner-up.
But the Australian No.1 later admitted he was still struggling with a wrist injury and was almost certain to skip the lucrative Miami Masters in a bid to recover.