Nick Kyrgios says he fears no one after letting his racquet do the talking to storm into the second round of the US Open in New York.
A day after pointing out tennis players are allowed to smoke marijuana on tour in a wacky Q & A with his Twitter followers, the colourful tennis star smoked Aljaz Bedene in straight sets at Flushing Meadows.
Kyrgios overcame a troublesome hip and an early confrontation with the chair umpire to blast past the Brit 6-4 6-4 6-4 in less than two hours on Tuesday night.
The 14th seed’s routine win came after officials said he wouldn’t be sanctioned for his latest headline-grabbing moment on the eve of the season’s final grand slam event.
Kyrgios offered up a simple “yep” when asked by one of his Twitter followers: “are you allowed to smoke weed on tour?”
And he is correct, with a WADA spokesman confirming that while marijuana “is a prohibited substance for in-competition testing, it has never been prohibited out-of-competition.”
In effect, that means players are okay to smoke marijuana while not competing at tournaments.
During the same snap, two-minute Q & A, Kyrgios also teased fans that he’d walk away from tennis – at just 21 – if he won the title on Sunday week.
“If I won the US open now u (sic) would never see me again,” he said.
Kyrgios is now six wins away after backing up his banter with an impressive opening to his campaign.
The two-time grand slam quarter-finalist fired down 14 aces and thumped 43 winners in booking a second-round date on Thursday with Argentine Horacio Zeballos.
“I’m really pleased with that one. He’s a good competitor. He makes a lot of balls. He’s not going to give it to you,” Kyrgios said.
“I was nursing a little bit of an injury, and how I responded was really well.”
His victory wasn’t completely incident-free, though, with Kyrgios receiving a code violation in the first game of the match for aggressively hitting a ball, after a rally that the umpire deemed came dangerously close to a linesman.
“You’re giving me a code violation for hitting the ball too hard. I’ve heard it all now,” Kyrgios said.
Unlike last year, when he drew Andy Murray in the first round, Kyrgios can’t possibly meet his grand slam nemesis until the quarter-finals.
“My head space last year wasn’t the greatest,” he said.
“I was obviously going through a lot of stuff last year through that whole Montreal (sledging) thing.
“I’m seeded 14 here, so I won’t meet Murray until I’m a hell of a lot further through the draw.
“I feel comfortable in general on the tennis court. I feel more comfortable in my game against whoever I play.
“I know what I can do on the tennis court. I have beaten quality players. I’m not afraid of these guys, but I’m aware they all can play some really good tennis.”
HOW THE AUSSIES FARED ON DAY TWO AT THE US OPEN
Men’s singles, first round
14-Nick Kyrgios bt Aljaz Bedene (GBR) 6-4 6-4 6-4
17-Bernard Tomic lost to Damir Dzumhur (BIH) 6-4 6-3 4-6 7-6 (7-0)
John Millman lost to 8-Dominic Thiem (AUT) 6-3 2-6 5-7 6-4 6-3
Women’s singles, first round
16-Samantha Stosur bt Camila Giorgi (ITA) 7-5 6-7 (4-7) 6-1
Daria Gavrilova lost to Lucie Safarova (CZE) 6-4 6-4
Ellen Perez lost to Zhang Shaui (CHN) 6-1 6-1