Australian firebrand Nick Kyrgios apologised and said he had been unwell after he stormed off court to loud boos midway through his opening match at the Shanghai Masters on Tuesday.
The 22-year-old issued a statement following his abrupt exit after losing the first set 7/5 on a tie break to the American Steve Johnson, having been docked a point for the second match running because of his conduct.
The ATP Tour is investigating and Kyrgios, similarly hit with a point penalty in losing the China Open final to Rafael Nadal on Sunday, said he was “gutted” to retire against Johnson.
A member of Kyrgios’s coaching team told AFP in Shanghai – where a year ago he was accused of “tanking” in defeat and consequently suspended – that the world-ranked 21 had injured his shoulder.
Hours later Kyrgios, whose undoubted talent has often been betrayed by his quickfire temper, made a statement on Twitter apologising and saying he was “gutted”.
“I’ve been battling a stomach bug for the past 24 hours and I tried to be ready but I was really struggling on the court today, which I think was pretty evident from the first point,” he wrote.
“My shoulder started to hurt in the practice today, which didn’t help either, and once I lost the first set I was just not strong enough to continue because I’ve not eaten much the past 24 hours.”
— Nicholas Kyrgios (@NickKyrgios) October 10, 2017
He will make a decision on Wednesday as to whether he takes part in his doubles match the same day with Frenchman Lucas Pouille.
Kyrgios did look in discomfort with his shoulder early on in the match against the unseeded Johnson.
But he seemed untroubled by the injury when they entered the tie break, but as in the final in Beijing, his temper soon got the better of him, after he was angered by the unsettled crowd and the umpire.
He began Tuesday’s match on his best behaviour but showed a first flash of irritation towards the end of the set, blasting a ball out of the court after he disagreed with a call.
Kyrgios and Johnson were both comfortable on their serves and they went into the tie break with signs Kyrgios was beginning to lose his cool.
He went 3-0 up in the tie break but as Johnson pegged him back he was irked by spectators in the close-knit arena getting up between points.
“What’s happening here?” he asked, before muttering: “Exactly why I shouldn’t come here.”
Kyrgios appeared to blame the umpire for failing to get the spectators in line and his afternoon spiralled fast when he received a point penalty.
“What is he doing? Is this normal?” Kyrgios asked somebody in the official area of the arena, where spectators and players are in close proximity.
“Poor officiating again,” Kyrgios complained, and added: “Sick of this place.”
After Johnson wrapped up the set Kyrgios had enough, shaking the hands of his opponent and the umpire though not looking him in the eye and packing his bag and leaving.
Another notable exit in Shanghai was the seventh seed Pablo Carreno Busta, beaten by fellow Spaniard Albert Ramos Vinolas.
Also out was the American Jack Sock after the 14th-seed retired against Ukrainian qualifier Alexandr Dolgopolov.
Fourth seed Marin Cilic was forced to fight, fending off Britain’s Kyle Edmund 6-3, 7-6 (7/5).
World number one Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and rising star Alexander Zverev – the three top seeds – enter the fray on Wednesday.
Roger Federer said Monday he is pinching himself over a resurgent season that has added two more Grand Slams to the Swiss great’s trophy case and put 100 career singles titles within reach.
Following an injury-plagued 2016 in which he failed to lift any hardware, Federer has thrived on a reduced schedule aimed at easing the strain on his 36-year-old bones.
“I couldn’t be happier with this season to be quite honest,” the world number two said as play in the Shanghai Masters got underway.
“I’m just happy being here now and it would be nice to pick up another title and get in training and start again the next year and get more chances then.”
Looming in Shanghai is a potential clash in the final between Federer and Rafael Nadal, whose friendly rivalry has blossomed anew this year as they force the next generation to wait their turn.
Nadal, who in August re-took the world’s top ranking for the first time in more than three years, is also enjoying a stellar campaign.
The Spaniard comes to Shanghai’s hard-court having dispatched dangerous 22-year-old Australian Nick Kyrgios in straight sets to win the China Open in Beijing on Sunday.
The veteran Federer, on the other hand, skipped Beijing to arrive early in Shanghai to practice — and pace himself.
“To win tournaments is not an easy thing to do. I came to realise that obviously last year,” he said.
We’re basically the same height pic.twitter.com/OX7XSmv6t8
— Roger Federer (@rogerfederer) October 9, 2017
“I’m playing only the big tournaments now so you need to really be in tip-top shape and ready to go and it’s just not so simple.”
With many predicting players like Germany’s Alexander Zverev to become the sport’s next dominant players, Federer and Nadal aren’t done yet.
Starting the year ranked a relatively lowly 17th in the world, Federer beat Nadal in the Australian Open final in January and then won a record-breaking eighth Wimbledon in July without dropping a set.
He now has 93 singles titles, just one shy of overtaking Ivan Lendl for second-most in the Open era. Jimmy Connors has 109.
But Federer, who has five singles titles so far this year, is just focused on staying healthy.
“I’m not that far away (from 100 titles) it seems, but there is no point to really to think about it on a daily basis. This is something that is either going to happen or not going to happen,” he said.
“I’m happy I’m here, and I’m happy that I’m healthy.”
Federer has third-seeded Zverev in his half of the draw, while Nadal’s side has tough customers like Marin Cilic, Kyrgios and US open finalist Kevin Anderson.
Federer said he was surprised that Nadal, who won the French and US Opens this year, had even competed in Beijing after a busy recent stretch of tennis.
He also marvelled at the hard-court versatility of the Spaniard, whose 10 French Open wins had already proven his mastery on clay.
“It’s nice to see him keeping going. This (the China Open) is a really big win for him. So for him to go to Beijing and win it right away, I expected him to pull out, to be honest.”
He added: “Why not? There is no reason for him to push it too hard, but that’s Rafa.”
Federer begins his Shanghai campaign the winner of the opening round clash between Australia’s Jordan Thompson and Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman. Nadal will face American NextGen star Jared Donaldson.
Rafael Nadal said he was braced for the “huge” serve of John Isner after Spain’s world number one bulldozed his way into the China Open quarter-finals on Thursday.
The 16-time Grand Slam champion Nadal saw off the young Russian Karen Khachanov 6-3, 6-3 in Beijing to set up a last-eight clash with Isner, who had defeated the Spaniard with some impressive play at the Laver cup two weeks ago.
The in-form American, the sixth seed, is renowned for his booming service game and Nadal expects to come under a barrage on Friday.
Isner was impressive in blasting his way past Argentina’s Leonardo Mayer 6-0, 6-3 and Nadal said: “Tomorrow will be a tough one against Isner, he’s playing unbelievably well.
“I saw him today, he played so aggressive, having a lot of success, hitting a lot of winners, returning very well.
“Everybody knows that he serves huge and it is so difficult to break him.
“But if you add that he is playing very well now from the baseline, he is one of the toughest opponents you can meet.”
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) October 5, 2017
Nadal, 31, the top seed and coming off the back of a third US Open title, saved two match points against Frenchman Lucas Pouille in his opener in Beijing.
But he was always in control against Khachanov, 21, breaking him in the fourth game of the first set on the way to a routine victory.
“Of course I played better today. But is true that Pouille played so well the other day. There is always a reason. But obviously first match after a while is tough. First one against Pouille is a difficult one,” said Nadal, who recorded a tour-leading 31st win on hard court in 2017.
“After that match, be through after all the things that happened the other day, was a positive thing for me of course. And that’s gives me confidence. Today I think I played a good match.”
In the women’s draw, former world number one and fourth seed Karolina Pliskova became the latest high-profile casualty on Beijing’s outdoor hard courts, going out in the third round to unseeded Sorana Cirstea.
Cirstea, ranked 44 in the world, stunned the Czech Pliskova 6-1, 7-5 to reach the last eight.
She will play Latvia’s Jelena Ostapenko, the Roland Garros champion, after China’s top player Peng Shuai retired with a knee injury at 3-0 down in the first set.
The 31-year-old Peng said she had been having injections to ease the pain and her right knee was heavily strapped, but she could not play on.
“The doctor suggested I should take a period of rest and get it treated, but I can only rest after the season, that’s the plan,” said Peng, ranked 25 in the world.
World number one Garbine Muguruza and reigning champion Agnieszka Radwanska are both out, leaving world number two Halep as the favourite in the Chinese capital.
Also into the quarters are Caroline Garcia, who defeated French compatriot Alize Cornet 6-2, 6-1, and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic.
Garcia is in red-hot form after winning the Wuhan Open title on Saturday.
— China Open (@ChinaOpen) October 5, 2017