‘YOU SOUND LIKE AN IDIOT’: Umpire’s gesture saves raging Kyrgios
Nick Kyrgios tiptoed over the edge and it could so easily have been his doom.
He was left with his fate in the hands of chair umpire Marijana Veljovic while his fans were left with their hearts in their mouths as he launched his most irate verbal barrage at the official early in the dramatic fifth set on Wednesday night.
Kyrgios grumbled to Veljovic as often as he barked at the family members sitting in his courtside box during his incredibly gutsy fightback from two match points down in the fourth set against France's Ugo Humbert.
Against all odds, he blasted his way to a 5-7 6-4 3-6 7-6 6-4 win after almost 3hrs, 30mins.
While Kyrgios broke Humbert's serve and came out firing in the fourth set tie-break, he again flirted with disaster when directing another tirade at the umpire early in the fifth set.
Having already received code violations for destroying his racquet and hitting a ball at the umpire's chair, Kyrgios went on another tirade when a malfunctioning net-cord vibration-detecting device appeared to consistently play up.
Kyrgios was repeatedly furious at the device, used to detect lets, after he claimed he was robbed of some of his most clutch serves when they were called lets.
Having complained more than five times to the umpire about the device, he went at the official again as he served at 30-30, 0-1 down in the fifth set.
Kyrgios even walked up to the net and hammered his racquet down on top of the tape after two good serves were ruled to be lets.
"It's bulls***, look at the score," he complained to the umpire.
"It's ruining the game. It's ruining the game. You don't understand it's f***ing one-all in the fifth set."
His audible obscenity could so easily have been his third code violation - triggering a game penalty.
That would have cost Kyrgios his serve, and would have left the former Aussie Open quarter-finalist in a hole at 0-2 down in the deciding set.
Instead, the umpire allowed Kyrgios to vent his frustration without reprimanding him.
He went on to pick off the next three service games to lead 3-1 in the decider. He never looked back.
On any other day Veljovic could so easily have decided she'd had enough.
The popular official famously hit Roger Federer with a code violation at the 2020 Australian Open when he swore in French in an attempt to avoid detection.
It earned him a code violation warning, but Veljovic was feeling in a much more understanding mood on Wednesday night.
Kyrgios earlier in the match threatened to stop play if the let-detecting sensor was not fixed or replaced.
"Turn the machine off, it's ruining the game, you've gotta understand me," he said.
"It's missing the net by that much. How do you not understand that? Did you turn it off?
"Turn it off. I'm not playing until you turn it off. It's this far off the net."
He expanded on the problem in a fascinating post-match press conference, admitting there was no obvious solution.
"Having technology like that, you sound like an idiot trying to argue against it. But even when he (Humbert) was serving, it was literally this far (gestures with his hands to indicate about 20cm) over the net and the net thing went off. I was like there's no chance this was accurate," Kyrgios said.
"If you have a device where you can turn down the sensitivities, I just think there's too many variables.
"I don't know. I don't have the solution … maybe they need to upgrade their technology."