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Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

Nick Kyrgios Will Face His Toughest Test Yet: Being A Good Lad For Six Months

Illustration for article titled Nick Kyrgios Will Face His Toughest Test Yet: Being A Good Lad For Six Months
Photo: Clive Brunskill (Getty Images)

Over a month ago, Nick Kyrgios vaporized two rackets during a “bathroom break,” berated an umpire for the better part of an hour, and allegedly spat at that umpire at match’s end in Cincinnati. The next day, the ATP announced $113,000 in fines for the Australian’s nine code violations. The rest of his punishment would come later.


Despite (or, if we’re being real, because of) his shittier antics, Kyrgios puts butts in seats. This may help explain why the ATP took its time, let him play its premier exhibition event, and announced the next phase of his punishment some six weeks later—on the same day he announced a collarbone injury layoff from the tour. After an “investigation,” the tour struck Kyrgios today with a deferred $25,000 fine and 16-week suspension, neither of which will trigger so long as he is a well-behaved lad for the next six months.

To avoid the fine and suspension, Kyrgios cannot commit any of the following code violations badly enough to earn a fine:

- Verbal or Physical abuse of officials, spectators or any other persons while on-court or on-site, or

- Unsportsmanlike Conduct based upon an act, such as spitting, directed towards an official, spectator or other person during or upon conclusion of the match, or

- Visible Obscenity directed towards an official

The tour has also stipulated that Kyrgios seek support from a “mental coach” during competition, and a “professional specializing in behavior management” during the offseason.

Looking at a loose timeline of his behavior, it would be something of a career highlight for Kyrgios to go six months without doing any of these things. Every match will now double as a breathtaking high-wire act. The word “fudge” may enter his lexicon with urgency. Umpire abuse is his primary form of social connection, so he may begin to appear lonely, confused, and at a loss for a conversation partner during matches. Antagonistic fans have historically served as his motivation to perform well, and now he can’t yap at them, either. He might as well serve out the full punishment now.