Nick Kyrgios complains to the chair umpire about the crowd in the Rod Laver Arena. Photo/Getty
Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis may have staged a dream all-Australian men’s doubles final, but it came after a nasty tantrum that sent the tennis world outraged.
Kyrgios and Kokkinakis will face fellow Australians Matt Ebden and Max Purcell in the final after beating Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos 7-6 6-4 in front of a rowdy crowd at Rod Laver Arena.
The result, however, was overshadowed by the standard debate surrounding Kyrgios’ antics on the pitch and the rude behavior of the passionate fans who cheered him on.
Kyrgios was savagely roasted for an act of ultimate hypocrisy midway through the fiery second set where the match seemed to slip out of the Special Ks’ grip.
Leading 4-2, Kyrgios’ serve was broken and it caused a typically petulant meltdown where the polarizing player turned on his own fans.
After kicking a tennis ball into the back wall with an angry throw, Kyrgios lost it when opposing duo Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos secured the break.
Kyrgios destroyed his racquet and received a code violation warning.
Australian legend Todd Woodbridge told Channel 9 that Kyrgios was lucky not to be handed a second code breach for his explicit language.
The real drama came at the switchover when Kyrgios berated the chair umpire to control the fans who appeared to be screaming during his serve moves.
The heckling in the middle of a service motion is something Kyrgios has encouraged from his fans throughout the tournament – but not when it’s his turn, apparently.
The extraordinary hypocrisy of his remarks did not escape Australian tennis commentators.
Woodbridge described it as “a bit contradictory”.
Former Australian player Sam Groth said: “Kyrgios is unhappy with the shouting from the crowd between serves. Not much different from what we’ve heard all week, to be honest.
“Maybe it’s okay on Kia Arena and not Rod Laver Arena.”
Other Australian sports commentators, including radio personality Mark Levy, were even more scathing.
“Nick Kyrgios wants the chair umpire to control the crowd he’s whipping into a frenzy. That’ll be enough for me,” he wrote on Twitter.
“I’ll tell you the real problem Nick, you’re a sore loser when things don’t go your way.
“Keep Calm BRO!!!”
England tennis correspondent Stuart Fraser wrote: “Can confirm Kyrgios flips his cover in the Rod Laver Arena. Has twice roared at Aussie fans for yelling before his serve.”
TV microphones captured Kyrgios barking at the chair umpire saying, “How many times? How many times will this happen before you do something. The ball is thrown and they go again and again and again and again, four times”.
Kyrgios was on top of his usual antics from the start of the game. After the very first point, he was beckoning the crowd to enter the contest.
Granollers and Zeballos won the first match singing “Aussie! Aussie! Aussie! Oi! Oi! Oi!” rang. After Kyrgios opened his first service game with an ace, the familiar cry of “siu” erupted.
However, the big difference between Kia Arena and Rod Laver Arena was also clearly visible throughout the first set, with the crowd refraining from cheering or heckling amid the serving actions of Granollers and Zeballos.
There were even cheers from inside the arena when the chair umpire asked the fans to “keep it clean and fair” during the first set.
They fared better than any crowd Kyrgios has played in front of this tournament – and it’s just the one he hated the most.