Todd Woodbridge believes Nick Kyrgios is copping extra scrutiny from umpires but doesn’t help himself by the way he engages with them.
Woodbridge’s comments come after Kyrgios’s prolonged exchange with the chair umpire at the Shanghai Masters during his first round defeat to American qualifier Bradley Klahn.
Umpire Damien Dumusois questioned the effort of Kyrgios, telling him at one stage early in the second set he was “really borderline”, which upset the world No.38 who then continued to verbal the official.
Doubles great Woodbridge says Kyrgios, who this week lost the top Australian ranking to Alex de Minaur, gets singled out.
“It’s interesting when you watch him, the umpires are watching him more closely than generally they watch the other end,” Woodbridge said at the launch of the Australian Open.
“A little bit of that has been brought on by himself – it’s fair to say he gets engaged a little too often.”
Woodbridge felt it was a pity that Kyrgios couldn’t skip Shanghai – a compulsory Masters Series event – given it was the third successive year in which the Australian had gone out of the tournament in controversial fashion.
He said Kyrgios looked “tired and jaded” at this stage in the season and that brings out the worst in him.
“I think with Nick when he’s fresh he plays great and it’s about managing schedules as much as anything, so that he plays no more than three weeks in row and then he gets away from it,” Woodbridge said.
“That can be difficult on tour because you have commitments that the tour say you have to play certain events.
“When he’s fresh we don’t see him ‘leave the court’ so to speak where his eyes wander; when he’s playing fresh he’s got the opponents in his sights.”
A 22-time grand slam champion – in double and mixed doubles – and former Davis Cup coach, Woodbridge said Kyrgios should next year try to focus his energies on the majors.
“It hasn’t been the year he’d like and I think next year it’s about a focus on slams and actually performing and going deep in those,” he said.
“When he burst onto the scene he made a quarter of Wimbledon, a quarter of the Australian Open and he has shown us he’s got that ability to do that.”