Nick Kyrgios is pondering his next move as he walks an emotional tightrope trying to avoid a four-week suspension that threatens to undermine his grand slam season.
Kyrgios is set to drop out of the world’s top 40 following his “heartbreaking” and drama-charged third-round exit from the Australian Open and faces a battle to regain his seeding status for the French Open in May.
But with a month remaining on his six-month suspended ban for aggravated behaviour, the temperamental youngster will need to tread carefully if he proceeds with plans to contest upcoming tour events in Rotterdam and Marseille.
Any further fines totalling $US3500 ($A5,000) imposed before February 24 will trigger a 28-day suspension from the ATP Tour, an unwanted scenario that would further impact on the two-time grand slam quarter-finalist’s hopes of climbing back into the top 32 before the season’s second major in Paris.
Kyrgios said “don’t remind me” when asked his program after the Open and was coy about whether or not he’d play in Europe, and then Dubai, before returning to Melbourne for Australia’s first-round Davis Cup tie with the United States at Kooyong from March 4-6.
“I actually don’t know. I have mixed (doubles) tomorrow. I’m looking forward to that. Who knows,” Kyrgios said after his 6-3 6-4 1-6 6-4 Open loss to Czech sixth seed Tomas Berdych on Friday night.
Kyrgios has only contested one ATP match since being fined $US1500 ($A2,150) for an audible obscenity during his first-round win over Andreas Haider-Maurer in Shanghai last October, preferring instead to play the ITPL and Hopman Cup and Kooyong Classic exhibition events.
He was first placed on probation by the ATP following his unsavoury sledging of 2014 Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka at the Montreal Masters last August.
The 20-year-old was slugged with a $US3000 ($A4340) ticket for dropping the F-bomb in his first-round win in Melbourne against Pablo Carreno Busta.
But as fines incurred in the slams don’t count towards his ATP rap sheet – as they are controlled by the International Tennis Federation – Kyrgios’ Open misdemeanours won’t have any lasting consequences.
Kyrgios was involved in more verbal warfare during and after his loss to Berdych, telling respected chair umpire James Keothavong “you’re a terrible referee” following a running battle with the official.
Kyrgios was livid about music playing in Rod Laver Arena during the match, in which the combustible Canberran also engaged with fans throughout the rollercoaster four-setter at Rod Laver Arena.
He later admitted he was “not really sure” if he needed to start finding a balance between being an on-court entertainer and player in order to achieve better results against top-10 rivals.
“I have to get fitter and stronger to beat guys like that,” Kyrgios said.
“I thought I put a lot of balls in the court when I needed to. I definitely hit a couple of good shots.
“I thought they were on at the time. Every time I went for a shot, I was in a tough position or something.”
Kyrgios said he was gutted by his first-week departure from the championship, with the defeat set to send him sliding from 30th to 41st in the rankings.
“I’m so disappointed, I put so much work in, and I just feel like I let a lot of people down,” he said.
“I was expecting a bit more out of myself. I was expecting another real deep run. It’s pretty heartbreaking.”