Australia’s Nick Kyrgios backed off calling the ATP Tour “corrupt” on Wednesday even as the tour launched a probe into his remarks as a major rules violation.
The latest hot water for the fiery Aussie came after his 6-3, 7-6 (7/1), 6-4 victory over American Steve Johnson early Wednesday morning in a first-round US Open match.
Kyrgios was asked about the record $113,000 fine issued to him by the ATP for actions at the Cincinnati Masters, saying it was not a concern for him entering the US Open.
“Not at all,” he said. “ATP is pretty corrupt anyway. I’m not frustrated at all.”
Kyrgios backed down from the corrupt label in a Wednesday afternoon statement released on his Twitter account.
“I would like to go on record to clarify my comment around the ATP being corrupt, it was not the correct choice of words and my point and intention was to address what I see as double standards rather than corruption,” Kyrgios said.
“I know my behaviour at times has been controversial and that has landed me in trouble, which at times is granted and valid but my issue is around others whether gaining the same, less or more media attention doing the same or similar behaviour and not being sanctioned. That’s my issue and it continues to be.”
Kyrgios also said in his early morning comments: “I’m fined 113K for what?”
At Cincinnati, Kyrgios smashed two racquets and used a profanity in describing an umpire as a “tool” after being assessed a time violation in a loss to Russia’s Karen Khachanov.
He also called the umpire “rubbish”, “a disgrace” and “the worst ref in the game.”
The early morning remarks at Flushing Meadows have sparked an ATP investigation, according to a tour statement Wednesday.
“The comments made by Nick Kyrgios after his first-round match in New York will be assessed under the Player Major Offense provision under ATP Rules,” the tour said.
“A determination will be made by Gayle David Bradshaw, Executive Vice President, Rules and Competition, following an investigation as required by ATP rules.”
Kyrgios double standard
Kyrgios said he appreciated the support of ATP Tour executive chairman and president Chris Kermode as he pushes to be treated as any other player when committing violations, something he says hasn’t yet happened.
“To be clear I know I’m not perfect and do not pretend to be and I acknowledge I’ve deserved fines and sanctioning at times,” Kyrgios said. “But I expect consistency and fairness with this across the board, to date that’s not happened.
“I’ve had huge support from Chris Kermode and have given it in return, so I want to clarify my comments but stand by my beliefs and sentiment around double standards.”