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Under-fire Kyrgios tells fans: I don't owe you anything

By Jack De Menezes

Controversial Australian Nick Kyrgios is facing a fresh backlash from fans after he was eliminated from the Shanghai Masters when appearing to concede a match from the opening set, before remarking of those who booed him, "I don't owe them anything".

The 21-year-old started to serve without putting any effort into his movement, and at one stage was already walking off the court before his opponent Mischa Zverev had returned the ball.

His complete lack of effort prompted boos from the crowd - not for the first time in his young-yet-tarnished career - and he eventually slumped to a 6-3, 6-1 defeat in the second round, just days after winning the Japan Open.

Kyrgios's time in the Far East has already sparked controversy after he claimed he was "bored" during his first-round victory over Sam Querrey earlier this week, but his latest actions could well land him in hot water once again.

As well as walking off the court while the point was still being played, Kyrgios served without putting effort into his motion, and also engaged in a heated argument with a fan who told him to "respect the game" and "respect the people".

He also received a code violation for swearing from umpire Ali Nili, who told him: "Nick, you can't play like that. It's just not professional. This is a professional tournament."

In an astonishing reply, Kyrgios said: "Can you call time so I can finish this match and go home?"

The world No.14 - 96 places higher than Zverev - was clearly unrepentant afterwards, and continued his verbal attack on the fans who had paid good money to see him yesterday.

Having told a spectator who criticised him, "you wanna come here and play? Sit down and shut up and watch", Kyrgios delivered a remarkable press conference in which he defended his right to not put any effort into matches.

"I don't owe them anything," Kyrgios said. "It's my choice. If you don't like it, I didn't ask you to come watch. Just leave."

He added: "I feel like if they knew what they were talking about they'd be on the tennis court and being successful as well. I can't really understand it at all. They don't know what I'm going through, so no, I don't understand it.

"If you're so good at giving advice and so good at tennis, why aren't you as good as me? Why aren't you on the tour?'

"You want to buy a ticket? Come watch me. You know I'm unpredictable. It's your choice. I don't owe you anything. (It) doesn't affect how I sleep at night."

Asked if he had any hopes of qualifying for the ATP Finals in London next month, where the top eight in the world - fitness permitting - clash in a lucrative contest, he answered: "I couldn't care less to be completely honest with you."

Attempting to try and justify his actions, Kyrgios said: "It was just tough. Obviously I played a lot of matches in a row. Physically tired, mentally tired.

"That's why I'm trying to work on being able to be consistent every week. Just took the easy way out tonight and obviously didn't show up at all."

Belfast Telegraph


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