Players debate necessary punishment after Kyrgios outburst

ROME (AP) — Nick Kyrgios’ latest outburst of unruly behavior has other players split on whether the temperamental Australian should be handed a long-term ban.

Kyrgios walked off the court and threw a chair onto the red clay during a fit of rage during his second-round match at the Italian Open on Thursday, leading to him being defaulted and fined.

His opponent, Norwegian qualifier Casper Ruud, said that wasn’t enough and called for Kyrgios to be banned for six months or longer.

Roger Federer, though, thinks Kyrgios has already been given an appropriate punishment.

“I don’t think he should be suspended,” Federer said. “He walked off the court. What did he do? He hurt a chair? That’s not enough for me. I don’t know if he’s on probation or not from his Shanghai thing. If that’s the case, then obviously you can maybe look into it. If that’s run its course, I don’t think he should be suspended.”

Kyrgios was already suspended by the ATP Tour for two months in 2016 for “tanking” a match and insulting fans during a loss at the Shanghai Masters.

The latest incident occurred on an outer court at the Foro Italico, with Kyrgios losing 6-3, 6-7 (5), 2-1 against Ruud.

First, Kyrgios slammed his racket to the clay and kicked a water bottle. Then he picked up a white chair and flung it onto the court with his right hand.

The men’s tour said Kyrgios will lose his 33,635 euros ($37,500) in prize money from the tournament and 45 ATP points.

Kyrgios was also fined 20,000 Euros for the three unsportsmanlike conduct penalties he received during the match and must cover the cost of his hospitality during the tournament, the ATP said.

“A zero pointer, fine, all this stuff is already tough enough,” Federer added. “He knows it’s a mistake what happened.”

Ruud said many players were debating how long Kyrgios should be suspended for.

“It doesn’t seem like anything makes him change these days,” Ruud said. “The ATP should do something. … I’m not the only one who thinks he should be suspended for at least half a year.”

Before leaving the court, Kyrgios shook hands with Ruud and the chair umpire.

“Very eventful day to say the least,” Kyrgios wrote on Instagram. “Emotions got the better of me and I just wanted to say that the atmosphere was crazy out there today, just super unfortunate that it had to end in a default. Sorry Roma, see you again, maybe.”

Before he was defaulted, Kyrgios received a warning for ball abuse, then was docked a point for unsportsmanlike conduct and lost a game for more unsportsmanlike conduct.

“He was getting angry that some guy was walking in between his first and second serve,” Ruud said. “Then he was getting more and more angry. … He does whatever he feels like doing. I think he got what he deserved.”

In 2015, Kyrgios insulted Stan Wawrinka with crude remarks during a match in Montreal. He was fined $12,500 and given a suspended 28-day ban. He also attracted criticism for deciding not to play at the Olympics because of a spat with an Australian team official, and for firing back at retired players who have offered advice.

Top-ranked Novak Djokovic, who is president of the ATP player council, said he had “no opinion” on whether Kyrgios should be suspended.

“I’ll let others, officials, decide that,” Djokovic said.

Also Thursday, Federer, Rafael Nadal and Djokovic each won twice to reach the quarterfinals after a rainout on Wednesday backed up play.

Federer beat Joao Sousa 6-4, 6-3, then he saved two match points as he rallied past Borna Coric 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7).

Eight-time Rome champion Nadal cruised past Jeremy Chardy 6-0, 6-1 then quickly dispatched Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-1, 6-0.

Djokovic eliminated Denis Shapovalov 6-1, 6-3 and rolled past Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-3, 6-0.

Naomi Osaka also won twice to hold on to the No. 1 ranking.

Against Federer, Coric missed forehands into the net on both of his match points in the tiebreaker. Federer converted his second match point when he forced Coric to hit a difficult, low volley into the net.

The 22-year-old Coric was playing his only match of the day and appeared fresher than the 37-year-old Federer at times. Coric won more points than Federer — 107-95 — but Federer, the 20-time Grand Slam champion, won when it counted.

“It’s nice to get lucky sometimes,” Federer said. “The atmosphere was fantastic. People were going crazy. … I gave him a chance to win it and he didn’t so I took it at the end.”

After getting stretched out wide to the doubles alley, Federer produced a forehand cross-court winner as he broke for a 4-2 lead in the second set.

Federer will next face Stefanos Tsitsipas, who eliminated the Italians Jannik Sinner and Fabio Fognini.

Spanish veteran Fernando Verdasco spent nearly five hours on court over six sets to get by Dominic Thiem and Karen Khachanov and reach the last eight.

Czech teenager Marketa Vondrousova rallied past Simona Halep 2-6, 7-5, 6-3 for her second win over the Romanian this year.

Halep, who was a finalist in Rome the last two years and is preparing to defend her French Open title, took a medical timeout early in the third set and received treatment on her left leg.

“It’s just a little injury, which in a few days is going to be OK,” Halep said. “I’m sure.”

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Andrew Dampf on Twitter: www.twitter.com/AndrewDampf