Tennis: Umpiring a ‘strange occupation’, says Kyrgios

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Nick Kyrgios has had more than his fair share of run-ins with umpires over his career and on Saturday the Australian revealed that he thought it “strange” that anyone would want to officiate on a tennis court.

Tennis – Wimbledon – All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, London, Britain – July 5, 2018 Australia’s Nick Kyrgios speaks to the chair umpire during his second round match against Netherland’s Robin Haase REUTERS/Andrew Boyers

The maverick 23-year-old has been forced to pay out tens of thousands of dollars in fines for swearing, making obscene gestures, racket smashing and not trying after falling foul of officials in his six years as a professional.

Kyrgios said he understood that umpires were just “normal people” doing “the best they can” — even if they did make mistakes — and admitted that he sometimes went “a bit too far” when he got frustrated on court.

Away from the playing arena, however, his over-riding emotion was one of amusement.

“When I see them off the court, I kind of laugh when I walk past them,” he told reporters at Melbourne Park.

“They know on court things happen. But off the court, it’s a strange occupation to do. I wouldn’t personally do it because I wouldn’t want a guy like myself just hounding me for two and a half hours.

“Someone’s got to do it, I guess.”

Kyrgios faces a tough first-round opponent in Milos Raonic at Melbourne Park next week.

If he manages to get past the Canadian 16th seed, he will more than likely be served up with a reminder of one of his grubbiest run-ins with officialdom in the shape of former champion Stan Wawrinka.

At the 2015 Rogers Cup, Kyrgios was slapped with a suspended 28-day ban and a $10,000 fine for suggesting on court that a fellow player had slept with Wawrinka’s girlfriend.

“This incident was egregious and reflected poorly on our sport,” the ATP’s Gayle David Bradshaw said in handing down the punishment.

“Nick has expressed regret, and the best result would be that he learns a lesson from this incident and that he understands he is responsible to the tour and to fellow players for both his actions and his words.”

Writing by Nick Mulvenney in Sydney, editing by Amlan Chakraborty

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