Australian tennis player Nick Kyrgios has lived up to his reputation at the Delray Beach Open in Florida with more on-court antics, including dancing along to a Michael Jackson song after being heckled and booed on court.
Kyrgios, 23, ranked No.53 in men’s singles on the tour, snapped back at a spectator in the crowd who was questioning his effort on court at the end of the first set.
He was then called for a code violation after a linesperson reported back to chair umpire Fergus Murphy that the Australian had sworn during the exchange.
“Yeah I swore, I’m pretty sure we all swear,” he said, according to tennis commentator John Horn.
“We’ve got a guy who thinks he’s pretty important so he goes and rats on a player who’s trying to do his best out there, rats to the umpire that I was swearing.
“I just don’t get people,” he said.
The incident left Kyrgios fuming, sarcastically clapping off the official when they were relieved of their duties as he fought back to win the second set.
“Well done champ. Well done mate. Good stuff. You’ve done well,” he was picked up yelling over the broadcast, not long after attempting an inside-out serve on set point.
Kyrgios, with prize money totalling more than $9.3 million, was battling an apparent knee injury when he succumbed to Radu Albot (6-2 3-6 6-3) in one hour and 26 minutes in the second round.
— Narayanan (@federized) February 22, 2019
Despite later dancing to Michael Jackson’s Smooth Criminal at the change of ends, Kyrgios was still upset with the official after leaving the court to a mixture of boos and cheers.
Kyrgios said it was unfair for fans to berate him and had a message for others: “You know what you are going to get.
Nick Kyrgios on incident with fan in crowd at Delray (1/2) "They come at me saying we paid good money to come me…I didn't ask you to come spend money & come watch me play. You know what you are going to get" #ATP #DBOpen
— John Horn (@SportsHorn) February 21, 2019
“They come at me saying we paid good money to come (see) me. I didn’t come to your house and threaten you to come watch me play.
“I’m used to it man. When I win everything is fine, when I lose I get booed, simply as that.”
One fan took to Twitter to say Kyrgios’ on-and-off court performance was “embarrassing”.
“Just when you think @NickKyrgios could not act worse on the court, today he beat that. Embarrassing! From dancing to sideways serves,” he wrote.
Another chimed in that despite Kyrgios being on the receiving end of dozens of negative comments after the court-side rant, he was still the most watched player on YouTube.
And some advice.
— Kris 🇦🇺 🏳️🌈 (@Kris_oooooo) February 22, 2019
Kyrgios’ vanquisher Albot will face Steve Johnson in the quarter-finals after the American beat Italian Paolo Lorenzi 7-5 7-5.