Nick Kyrgios got a little more than he was bargaining for with a game of H-O-R-S-E at the Rogers Cup on Tuesday, after one particular serve caught him dead-on the backside.
Despite recent criticism over his decision to pull out of his third match in a row at the Citi Open in Washington on August 3, Kyrgios proved that he could strike a lighter tone after agreeing to a round of the tongue-in-cheek game against his fellow countryman, Matt Reid.
The Australian has often received backlash for on-court tantrums and lacklustre play, and has recently battled a bout of injuries that have forced him to pull out of tournaments including the Aegon Championships and Wimbledon June and July.
@NickKyrgios I'm at rogers cup on tuesday, I know this is a long shot but could we hit for 5 minutes if you're practicing? That'd be dope!— MattMorin (@MattMorin_19) August 6, 2017
He also attracted praise for answering a call from tennis fan, Matt Morin, who tweeted the world number 24 last week to ask if he would be up for a five-minute rally at the Toronto competition.
Sure, hit me up when u there https://t.co/Kxn8MAo3NN— Nicholas Kyrgios (@NickKyrgios) August 6, 2017
Also anyone at rogers cup throughout the week can come on my practice court and chill and hit if u want https://t.co/4qqQdJBVDo— Nicholas Kyrgios (@NickKyrgios) August 6, 2017
The 22-year-old has admitted he has been struggling mentally as well as physically in recent months, although he said the problem was not motivation but “off-court issues”.
That moment when @NickKyrgios lets you play twice with him on the practice court🔥🔥 goodluck bro let's get it!— MattMorin (@MattMorin_19) August 8, 2017
But he seemed to put his recent demons behind him, after sailing through his first round match with a 6-1, 6-2 victory against Viktor Troicki on Monday.
If Matt Reid’s shot is anything to go by, he might well find that sitting down isn’t such an attractive option for regaining strength over the next couple of days.