Nick Kyrgios got a warning for spitting and complained about the smell of marijuana, but almost kept his cool to clinch a second round win over Benjamin Bonzi at the US Open.
The Australian is one of the favorites for the title after his run to the Wimbledon final and his excellent form on the North American hard courts, and has admitted that he is putting a lot of pressure on himself after fighting for 7-6, 6- 4, 4 -6, 6-4 win.
But in the typical manner of Kyrgios, the game did not pass without flashes of controversy.
The Wimbledon runner-up complained during his win over the smell of marijuana, asking chair referee Jaume Campistol to warn the crowd inside the Louis Armstrong stadium.
“Don’t you want to remind anyone not to or anything?” Kyrgios asked during a change in the second set.
Armstrong has stands along the atrium level above the courtyard, and Campistol seemed to be telling Kyrgios that the smell might be coming from their kitchens.
“Of course, I’m not going to complain about the smells of the food,” Kyrgios replied. “Obviously not.”
He added after the game: “I’m a heavy asthmatic. When I run from side to side, I struggle to breathe, it’s probably not something I want to breathe between the points.”
Kyrgios received a warning for using profanity when the target of his anger was someone in his box that Kyrgios didn’t feel was sympathetic enough, with footage that appeared to show him spitting in their direction as he made his way to his chair.
“Oh no, it’s terrible, terrible, terrible behavior on Kyrgios’ part,” Eurosport commentator Matt Chilton said. “I’m a huge fan, but it was unsportsmanlike behavior. Sometimes he goes one step too far. He was caught on camera, spat in the direction of his team and was shameful.”
Kyrgios seemed to shout, “You’re fucking sleeping brother! Go home if you’re not going to fuck me —— support me brother! You’re not a spectator!” to one of the members in his box, even though it wasn’t immediately clear who he was targeting.
The din of New York is a challenge for many players, and Kyrgios has struggled not only with the chatter of the fans but with the roars of trains heard outside the outdoor stadium.
“For someone who has struggled to focus in my career, I’m really trying to get my head down and play point by point, trying to get myself out of some situations. It’s difficult because there are a lot of distractions,” Kyrgios said. “Of course, there is also a lot of chatter going on. People say things. I have to be very careful what I say these days.”
Despite the controversy, Kyrgios managed to get into round three without losing a set, even though he found himself challenged by Bonzi more than he bargained for.
“I feel really professional right now”
“I wasn’t going out there expecting him not to be good or anything like that,” Kyrgios said of the Frenchman. “But the level of him was really, really good. I was really lucky to get through in four sets. I was 4-4 0-40 down in the fourth, I played tennis with a really low percentage to get out of that game.
“It was one of those games where you survive. I’m relatively happy with my form. It’s so stressful now because, every game I play, I expect to play so well.
“I probably have to lower the expectation of expecting to play like a Wimbledon final every time. I almost don’t know who I am anymore, to be honest, because that’s not me.
“I feel like I was really professional right now. I never thought the Wimbledon final would make me that way. I thought it would be the other way around, the opposite, almost a little relaxed and a little relaxed.” .
The Australian then faces off against seedless American JJ Wolf.
World Number 1 Daniil Medvedev received the late round at Arthur Ashe Stadium after Serena Williams’ show, but avoided any drama against Frenchman Arthur Rinderknech, coming through 6-2, 7-5, 6-3 for organize a confrontation with Wu Yibing, who became the first Chinese player to reach the third round at the US Open.