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Nick Kyrgios’ effort questioned in loss to Taylor Fritz as war with ref takes over


Nick Kyrgios was beaten in straight sets by American Taylor Fritz at the Cincinnati Masters this morning AEST as his running feud with referee Renaud Lichtenstein and a potential knee injury took center stage.

The Australian’s 6-3 6-2 loss was only his second defeat since the Wimbledon final and was heavily influenced by his war of words with the match official from the start of the match.

Kyrgios was in one of those moods and seemed to be engrossed in distractions around the pitch rather than the game. He complained about ‘standards’ while pointing out issues with the surface of the pitch, fans coming in and out between dots and flickering screens on the pitch.

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He became frustrated during the third game of the game as Fritz held for a 2-1 lead and began fuming at the chair umpire about the distraction caused by the faulty screens.

“The highest level we play and you can’t pull off something like this. It’s embarrassing,” he said with a few swear words strewn around the post.

“Yesterday you couldn’t even clean that f—– thing. I was drinking someone else’s water. Today the screens. What about tomorrow? Norms. Norms.”

Lichtenstein warned he would be penalized for swearing.

“Do something about it,” he told the referee, who replied, “I told you, I already called. And I’m going to call again and again and again.”

Kyrgios wasn’t done there.

During the next side change, he was upset that the fans were moving around and talking during the games, and again complained to the referee.

“People f—- walk halfway,” he fumed.

To which Lichtenstein replied, “Stop using the F-word or you’ll get a penalty every time. Sometimes you play with them moving, sometimes you don’t.”

“Is it normal for people to leave in the middle of the point?” Kyrgios said while criticizing Lichtenstein’s ability to do his job

“Announce it, you have a microphone. What is your job, controlling the game? Why don’t you control the game? Why are you not doing your job properly? If everyone did their job, I wouldn’t have any problems.

The Australian’s comprehensive program in form over the past few months seemed to catch up to him throughout the Round of 16.

He demanded a physio attend to his knee towards the end, raising fears he may not be at his physical peak for the final grand slam of the year at Flushing Meadows.

“You can hear the boos around the stadium. They don’t feel like he’s done his best and we hope the knee isn’t too bad, but he needs to show more,” he said. former US Open finalist Greg Rusedski. said during Amazon Prime’s coverage of the game.

“He has improved out of sight, but physically he needs to get stronger.

“You worry physically about the knee. It’s a lot easier to do on grass pitches than on hard courts.”

Kyrgios has appeared in 12 singles matches in August so far with his loss to Fritz only his second in the month, having also fallen to Hubert Hurkacz in the quarterfinals of the Canadian Open.

As well as his singles, the 27-year-old played men’s doubles and won the Atlanta Open alongside Thanasi Kokkinakis before completing a historic Citi Open double with Jack Sock.

Kyrgios’ live ranking is currently No. 26 and although some believe more action on the court could be detrimental to a healthy and fit US Open success, US tennis great Andy Roddick had a different take on the Aussie’s full playing schedule.

“Going through singles and doubles and not tapping mentally or physically is a big, big sign,” Roddick said on Tennis Channel.

“I think that puts him in the top two, maybe top three US Open favourites.”

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