It’s barely been 48 hours since Nick Kyrgios made headlines for mocking Rafael Nadal’s routine, and now, he’s causing another stir.
In his fourth-round, five-set tie-break victory against Russian Karen Khachanov at the Australian Open, Kyrgios appeared to injure his right hand after attempting a full dive across the court.
And in the midst of a tense fourth set, not one to shy away from the outrageous, he tried to finish a brilliant rally with a ‘tweener’ — a shot hit from between the players’ legs.
His shot not only landed well wide of the court, but in the aftermath, with the score at 5-4 to the Australian, tempers flared as Kyrgios looked after his injured hand.
The chair umpire — who did not see the injury — handed Kyrgios a time violation for taking too long to put his towel down, while Kyrgios argued he was trying to avoid having the ball boy touch his bloody towel by setting it down himself.
“My hand’s bleeding. What do you want me to do?” exclaimed Kyrgios on court. “There’s blood all over the towel so I told the ball kid not to touch it. That’s all I said.
“What, are you stupid? Take it back then. Why do I get a time violation for it?”
Kyrgios brandished the towel at the umpire to prove his injury — all the while decrying the decision — before returning to the baseline to continue.
He received treatment on his hand at the end of the game, all the while arguing with the umpire.
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Kyrgios progressed to the last 16 of the Australian Open with a thrilling victory over Khachanov, who saved match point in the fourth set to take it to the final set.
The Australian raced into a two-set lead but some battling tennis from the Russian brought him level.
Nonetheless, cheered on by his home crowd, Kyrgios won a tiebreak to advance to the next round.
He will be in for a tense clash with Nadal following his mocking of the Spanish star’s pre-serve routine a few days ago.
In response to a time violation at the end of the second set, Kyrgios imitated the 19-time Grand Slam winner — a swipe of the hair on either side followed by a pick at the seat of his shorts.
His impression raised a grin on the face of the chair umpire in Melbourne.
Early in the third set, his opponent, Gilles Simon of France, also received a time violation, and cracked up Kyrgios by doing his own rendition of Rafa’s routine.
After his second-round victory, Nadal said he “didn’t care” about the Kyrgios’ impression.