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Kyrgios is told to seek help to cut three-month ban

By Robert Jones

Published 18/10/2016

Controversial: Nick Kyrgios stopped trying at the Shanghai Masters
Controversial: Nick Kyrgios stopped trying at the Shanghai Masters

Nick Kyrgios has been suspended from playing tennis until January 15, 2017 following his controversial outburst and lack of effort during his Shanghai Masters defeat by Mischa Zverev last week.

The outspoken Australian, who was also given a £20,000 fine, can return on November 7 if he agrees to see a sport psychologist, with the ATP implementing the conditional ban after he also got involved in an argument with a fan who criticised his attitude.

The 21-year-old issued an immediate statement on his website to address the ATP's ruling, but while he apologised for his actions and admitted that he was fully aware how important the fans are to the game, he appeared to suggest that he will not see a sport psychologist.

"Following the ATP's decision today I would like to take this opportunity to apologise again for the circumstances in Shanghai," Kyrgios' statement read. "The season has been a long one as I battled several injuries and other challenges towards the end of the summer. The Asian circuit was particularly tough after the long week and win in Tokyo and with the travel throughout the continent, my body just gave out in Shanghai.

"This is no excuse, and I know very well that I need to apologise to the fans as well as the tournament organisers in Shanghai who do an amazing job. I know how important the fans are to the success of our sport and I love the interaction with fans in the many different cities throughout the world on the tennis circuit."

Towards the end of the statement, Kyrgios added that he will not be playing again this year, suggesting that he has no intention of seeing a sport psychologist to reduce his ban.

"I regret that my year is ending this way and that I will not have a chance to continue chasing the ATP Finals," he added. "This was an important goal for me. I do understand and respect the decision by the ATP and I will use this time off to improve on and off the court. I am truly sorry and look forward to returning in 2017."

Kyrgios did receive support, though, from close friend and World No.2 Andy Murray, who believes that hitting the Australian with a ban and fine is not the best way to cut out the discrepancies.

"I don't know if that stops that happening again. I'm not convinced about that," said Murray (left) who has closed the gap to Novak Djokovic in the ATP rankings to less than 2,500 points as he bids to become World No.1 for the first time.

Murray clinched his sixth title of the year on Sunday after beating Roberto Bautista Agut in the final of the Shanghai Masters.

Murray now has 10,485 points while Djokovic is top with 12,900. With Djokovic set to take some time off before returning at the BNP Paribas Masters at the end of October, Murray could further cut the Serb's advantage at next week's Erste Bank Open in Vienna.

Meanwhile, Johanna Konta has been handed a lifeline in her bid to reach the WTA Finals in Singapore after Serena Williams withdrew through injury.

The British No.1 has missed out on automatic qualification for the end-of-season showpiece, which features the best eight players of 2016, but occupies the first alternate place, the occupant of which gets a place in the tournament if any of the eight qualifiers pull out.

But her participation in Singapore hinges on her own fitness.

Belfast Telegraph

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