On Wednesday, Nick Kyrgios lost 6–3, 6–1 to Mischa Zverev in the second round of the Shanghai Rolex Masters. Though the match took just 48 minutes, it’s surprising it lasted even that long given the hot tanking action seen in the video above. The 21-year-old Kyrgios nabbed the biggest title of his career last week, beating Belgium’s David Goffin to win the Japan Open. “I did a lot of work last week and it showed,” Kyrgios said after that tournament, “so hopefully I keep going down the right direction.” Oh well!
The blooped serve seen above came in the first set, with the Aussie Kyrgios trailing 3–1. After Zverev hits a clean winner, it sounds as if Kyrgios says, “That’s nice.” After a nice boo from the crowd, the chair umpire tells the Australian, “Nick, you can’t play like that, OK.” He adds, “It’s just not professional.” According to the Telegraph, Kyrgios asked the ump, “Can you call time so I can finish this match and go home?”
Later, Kyrgios made a not-so-massive effort to return a Zverev serve in the second set:
After the match, Kyrgios acknowledged what he’d done, saying, “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.”
At Wimbledon in 2015, Kyrgios tanked a game in a loss against Richard Gasquet. On that occasion, he was sulking because the chair umpire had given him a code violation for swearing. Kyrgios denied tanking against Gasquet, saying, “Of course I tried.”
After losing to Andy Murray at this year’s Wimbledon, Kyrgios—who is a huge basketball fan—told the press, “At times, I’ve previously said that I don’t love the sport. But I don’t really know what else to do without it.”
In a pre-U.S. Open profile published in the New York Times Magazine this August, he told Michael Steinberger, “It’s important to find a balance between Pokémon and training.” Steinberger added that he said this “with only the faintest hint of sarcasm.”
Kyrgios is currently ranked No. 14 in the world, a career high. He is the youngest player in the Top 20, though Mischa’s 19-year-old brother Alexander Zverev will join him there soon.
Among his other career highlights: In 2015, he told Stan Wawrinka during a match that his countryman Thanasi Kokkinakis had slept with Wawrinka’s girlfriend. Or, as Kyrgios put it, “Kokkinakis banged your girlfriend. Sorry to tell you that mate.” Kyrgios was fined $25,000 and suspended for 28 days for that incident.