Australia's Nick Kyrgios banned from pro tennis for eight weeks after Shanghai meltdown

Nick Kyrgios in Shanghai last week. (Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)

Nick Kyrgios has been banned from playing on the pro tennis tour for eight weeks after blatantly throwing a game last week at the Shanghai Masters.

Kyrgios engaged in some inexplicable behaviour on the court in his match against qualifier Mischa Zverev of Germany. He lost the game 6-3 6-1 and scenes included him dropping a soft serve and then walking towards his seat as Zverev returned the shot, Kyrgios engaging in an argument with a spectator, and being publicly reprimanded by the umpire who told him: “Nick, you can’t play like that.”

Kyrgios posted this cryptic tweet after the game, suggesting he was in a festive mood:

Governing tour body ATP announced on Monday Kyrgios had been found guilty of “Conduct Contrary to the Integrity of the Game”, carrying a $US25,000 fine. He has been ordered off the tour for eight weeks but can return after three if he “enters a plan of care under the direction of a Sports Psychologist”.

The ATP confirmed it was also maintaining the $US10,000 fine for violating Best Efforts rule, a $US5,000 fine for verbally abusing a spectator, and a $US1,500 fine for unsportsmanlike conduct.

It means Kyrgios will miss the $5.4 million BNP Paribas Masters in Paris later this month.

Kyrgios issued the following statement after the decision:

Following the ATP’s decision today I would like to take this opportunity to apologise again for the circumstances in Shanghai. The season has been a long one as I battled several injuries and other challenges towards the end of the summer. The Asian circuit was particularly tough after the long week and win in Tokyo and with the travel throughout the continent, my body finally just gave out in Shanghai both physically and mentally.

This is no excuse, and I know very well that I need to apologise to the fans – in Shanghai and in other parts of the world – as well as the tournament organisers in Shanghai who do an amazing job. I of course know how important the fans are to the success of our sport and I personally love the interaction with fans in the many different cities throughout the world on the tennis circuit.

I am someone who gives a huge amount of time to my fans because I love and value their support. Their energy is what motivates me to reach for the top of the game.

I regret that my year is ending this way and that I will not have a chance to continue chasing the ATP Finals. This was an important goal for me. I do understand and respect the decision by the ATP and I will use this time off to improve on and off the court. I am truly sorry and look forward to returning in 2017.

Tennis Australia said it backed the ATP decision.

“Nick’s health and wellbeing is a priority and the ATP has offered a reduced penalty on the provision that he seeks appropriate professional advice, which he has agreed to do,” Tennis Australia said in a statement.

“Nick understands the gravity of his actions, has shown remorse and expressed a willingness to improve.

“We believe it’s our responsibility to help Nick, along with all our young athletes, improve both professionally on court as a player, and personally. We have always offered assistance and advice to Nick and his team and will continue to do so.”

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