Enigmatic tennis star Nick Kyrgios says it would be “a circus” if he shoved an umpire in the manner world No.1 Novak Djokovic did last week.
But he insists he’s not worried about being the victim of double standards, despite again earning the ire of a court umpire in Sunday’s feisty straight sets French Open first-round win over unheralded Italian Marco Cecchinato.
Still in the formative stages of hugely promising career, Kyrgios is no stranger to on-court controversy and on Sunday found himself in a slanging match with chair umpire Carlos Ramos over a code violation for shouting at a ball boy, which the Australian described as “rough”.
Kyrgios argues he had to raise his voice when requesting a towel from a ball boy because of noise made by the crowd following a crucial tiebreak point – with the 20-second limit between points leaving little time to wait for the crowd to quieten down.
“Every time I get a towel from a ball kid, I say thank you,” he said.
“Sometimes when you’re a bit frustrated you do … obviously, you know, not scream at them, but you do get a little mad at them.
“For me (on Sunday), I didn’t get mad at all. I just said it a little bit loud.
“The crowd was going on (and) I’m not going to wait for the crowd to quieten down to get my towel. I just felt like it was a bit rough.”
The 21-year-old may face further sanctioning for his comments directed at Ramos, who he said showed “unbelievable bias” and whose decision he described as “f**king bulls**t”.
Kyrgios has already been put on notice by Australian Olympic team boss Kitty Chiller, who may have been inclined to turn away from the screen as commentators apologised for his MA-rated language.
But of greater concern for Kyrgios is the growing belief that he is held to different standards than his contemporaries such as Djokovic.
The 11-times grand slam champion was roundly criticised last week for shoving the arm of chair umpire Carlos Bernardes during a win over Rafael Nadal in Rome, but escaped sanction completely.
“I think we all know in this room if that was me that did that, it would be an absolute circus,” Kyrgios said.
“But if he did it, you know, nothing really happened of it. It speaks for itself.”
After the match, a relaxed Kyrgios said he thought referees – and ball boys – did a good job, and while he felt Ramos’ decision was “a little bit rough” he understood “it was just his public opinion on how he thought I went about it”.
“I haven’t had too many bad experiences (with umpires),” he said.
“It’s not an easy job out there, especially five-set matches, to concentrate.
“I think they do a good job.”
Kyrgios also earned the support of his Italian opponent, who described him as a “very, very good guy”.