When Nick Kyrgios was announced as one of those to play on the opening day of Roland Garros 2016, it should have been expected that there would be fireworks.
The Australian didn’t disappoint, mixing up some great play with a few audacious shots and an argument with an umpire in a 7-6 (8-6) 7-6 (8-6) 6-4 win over Italian Marco Cecchinato.
Kyrgios found himself engaged in some verbal sparring with the chair umpire Carlos Ramos during the first set of the match. Ramos handed Kyrgios a code violation as he believed the 17th seed swore at a ball boy while asking for a towel.
“A code violation for saying towel loud?” Kyrgios responded.
“Now I’ve seen it all. That’s b*****t. Are you kidding?”
40 minutes into the French Open and we've already got our first Nick Kyrgios tantrum.https://t.co/vlHEL2RHeg
— Sportsbet.com.au (@sportsbetcomau) May 22, 2016
Kyrgios denied that he swore at the ball kid, and told reporters after the match that he was always respectful towards the ball kids, but that the situation required him to raise his voice.
“Every time I get a towel from a ball kid I say thank you. Sometimes when you’re a bit frustrated you do, not scream at them, but you do get a little mad at them,” he explained.
“For me, that time I didn’t get mad at all. I just said it a little bit loud. The crowd was going on. And if we’re going to play by the rules, you have 20 seconds in between points, so 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 accused the umpire of “unbelievable bias,” referring to Novak Djokovic’s run-in with chair umpire Carlos Bernardes at the recent Italian Open. When discussing a ball mark with Bernardes the world number one pushed the umpire away with his arm, and later complained about the match not stopping for rain.
“I think we all know in this room [that] if that was me that did that, it would be an absolute circus,” Kyrgios told reporters. “But he did it, [and] nothing really happened of it. It speaks for itself.”
Kyrgios did, of course, play some impressive tennis on the day, although he was not at his best. The 21-year-old fired off 16 aces and 50 winners, but some of his attempts at the unconventional didn’t always go according to plan…
For his part, Cecchinato showed some fine skills too – unfortunately not all of them were with his racquet…
Kyrigos will play Igor Sijsling in the second round.
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