It's impossible to predict what Nick Kyrgios will say or do next. An eventful week in Rome ended with the Australian throwing a chair and walking off his third-round match against Casper Ruud, effectively defaulting himself from the ATP Masters 1000.
Kyrgios had just won the second set in a tiebreak and was serving at 1-1 in the third set. He was apparently frustrated by spectators walking in the stands as he was serving, and earned a game penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct for swearing.
An ensuing fit of f-bombs culminated in the chair toss and the walk off the court. He was officially defaulted after incurring four penalties.
ATP confirms that Kyrgios was indeed defaulted from match vs Ruud— Christopher Clarey (@christophclarey) May 16, 2019
20,000 Euro total fine and forfeit of points and prize money from Rome pic.twitter.com/M5s3p40Gk0
He is fined Euro 20,000 for the point, game and match penalties (all for unsportsmanlike conduct), forfeits 45 ATP points and Euro 33, 365 in prize money, and has to cover his hotel costs himself.
It's a wild end to what seemed to be a pretty solid week for the world No. 36. Kyrgios was the talk of the town in Rome after beating No. 12-seeded Daniil Medvedev with a few underhand serves and tricks up his sleeve.
Things seemed to be going well for the 24-year-old and he was in such a good mood he appeared on the No Challenges Remaining podcast during a rainy Wednesday. Most of the interview is Kyrgios being candid about his social media platform, his underhand serves, his dislike of clay, the illusion of respect in game, his unusual work ethic and his affinity for parties.
"Everyone is so professional compared to me. For sure I do the least amount of work in the Top 100," he said. "I just want to not take it so seriously... The world's not going to stop turning because I lost a tennis match."
Though largely great spirited, toward the end of the chat, Kyrgios took aim at two notable figures in the sport, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.
"He’s my polar opposite, like literally my polar opposite," he said about Nadal. "When he wins, it’s fine. He won’t say anything bad, he’ll credit the opponent, ‘He was a great player.’ But as soon as I beat him, it’s just like, ‘He has no respect for me, my fans and no respect to the game.’ And I’m like, ‘What are you talking about. I literally played this way when I beat you the other previous times and nothing changed, nothing changed.'"
His comments on Djokovic got the most attention.
"Like, I’m sorry, but if you can’t beat me, you’re not the greatest of all time," Kyrgios said. He has a 2-0 record against the world No. 1.
"I just feel like he has a sick obsession with wanting to be liked. He just wants to be like Roger [Federer]," Kyrgios said. "For me personally—I don’t care right now, I’ve come this far—I feel like he just wants to be liked so much that I just can’t stand him."
He described Djokovic's post-match hugging gestures as "cringe-worthy."
"Honestly, that’s what I’m doing next time—if I play him and beat him, I’m doing his celebration, in front of him," he said. "He always says what he feels like he needs to say, never speaks his opinion."
Kyrgios did not do press after the match against Rudd, but did post to Instagram with a brief statement.
To get another chance at beating Djokovic, Kyrgios will need to stay on the court until the match is finished.