Australian top-20 player Nick Kyrgios, who recently tanked his quarter-final match against Germany’s Mischa Zverev at the second round of the Shanghai Rolex Masters, will be suspended from the sport until the 15th of January, as per a new decree by the ATP or the Association of Tennis Professionals, the governing body of men’s tennis.
That ban could be reduced till November 7th should Kyrgios agree to see a sports psychologist, the association has said.
Kyrgios, who has become known more for on-court antics than gameplay, has appeared to struggle with the mental aspect of the game for some time now. The 21-year-old, who does not have a full-time coach, recently won the title at the ATP500 Rakuten Japan Open, but proceeded to tank in his Shanghai match.
Appearing lackluster and mentally absent on court, Kyrgios walked around the baseline while Zverev was serving, and was even reprimanded by chair umpire Ali Nilli, who said “Nick, you have to behave professional.”
Zverev would later say that that match had been “easier" for him – but the incident is only the latest in a long list involving Kyrgios.
Perhaps the most high-profile incident involving the young Australian came at the 2015 Rogers Cup in Canada; Kyrgios, playing Swiss ace Stan Wawrinka there, began to sledge the player, making crass references to Wawrinka’s partner, tennis professional Donna Vekic, and Kyrgios’ own friend and compatriot Thanasi Kokkinakis.
Since then, Kyrgios’ antics have seen many tennis players – among them former No. 1 John McEnroe - aver that the young ace had an “attitude problem” and needed therapy. Top-ranked Novak Djokovic and No. 2 Andy Murray have also called for Kyrgios to “not waste his gifts,” with both offering the player advice and help.
Often reprimanded by umpires, Kyrgios was earlier fined $16,500 for his behaviour in Shanghai; $10,000 being the maximum fine the ATP can give a player, with a further two $5,000 and $1,500 fines for heckling the audience.
The player has often lashed out at critics, saying he does “not need a coach”, although several senior players, who believe the Australian has the potential to win Grand Slams, have called for counseling.
Kyrgios is yet to respond to the ban.