Australian tennis wild child Nick Kyrgios says there are no excuses for his second-round meltdown at the Shanghai Masters, where he clashed with fans and was accused of unprofessional behaviour in a meek loss to Russian journeyman Mischa Zverev.
No stranger to controversy, the world No.14 received a code violation for an audible obscenity during Wednesday’s 6-3 6-1 loss and at times appeared to give up on the match – admitting he “took the easy way out”.
Footage of the volatile 21-year-old limply tapping one serve over the net and then walking off court before Zverev had even struck his return sparked outrage across social media, with fans questioning the Canberran’s commitment.
Kyrgios explained his “arm was a little sore” when questioned on the weak serves – which Zverev said was similar to playing his girlfriend – but later posted on Twitter there were no excuses for his extraordinary defeat.
“Not good enough today on many levels, I’m better than that,” he posted.
“I can go on about excuses but there are none. Sorry #StillAWorkInProgress.”
Kyrgios also engaged in verbal battles with the crowd, telling fans to “go home” after they’d told him to “respect the game, respect the people”.
His post-match comments followed a similar line, with Kyrgios insisting he owed his fans nothing.
“They don’t know what I’m going through,” he said.
“I feel like if they knew what they were talking about they’d be on the tennis court and being successful as well.
“I don’t owe them anything. It’s my choice. If you don’t like it, I didn’t ask you to come watch. Just leave.
“If you’re so good at giving advice and so good at tennis, why aren’t you as good as me? Why aren’t you on the tour?
“You want to buy a ticket? Come watch me. You know I’m unpredictable. It’s your choice. I don’t owe you anything. Doesn’t affect how I sleep at night.”
Kyrgios was warned by chair umpire Ali Nili to “act professional and play with your best effort the whole time” but, having won his third ATP title of the year this week in Tokyo, Kyrgios later said he felt mentally drained.
“(I) just took the easy way out tonight and obviously didn’t show up at all,” Kyrgios said.