Nick Kyrgios claimed fans were smoking marijuana and unleashed a volley of expletives at members of his entourage before advancing to the US Open third round in typically tempestuous fashion on Wednesday.
The volatile Australian was given a code violation during an ugly flashpoint in the third set of his victory over France’s Benjamin Bonzi on Louis Armstrong court.
Kyrgios appeared to aim a mouthful of spit in the general direction of his box and then dropped several F-bombs at his team after suffering a break of serve.
Kyrgios went on to drop the set but subsequently recovered his composure to secure a 7-6 (7/3), 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 victory.
Kyrgios later said he had been taken by surprise by the resistance of world number 50 Bonzi.
“I was literally hanging by a thread. His level today was incredible,” Kyrgios said during an on-court interview.
“Honestly I was not expecting an absolute war. That could have gone either way. I played some really risky tennis in that fourth set to get the win. I’m just really happy to get through
“It’s been a very stressful time. Me and my team have have high expectations to go deep this week and I’m just glad I got through.”
Kyrgios said he was still adjusting to the pressure of expectation after a year which saw him reach his first Grand Slam final at Wimbledon.
“It’s made life more stressful,” he said. “Every tournament I play now I’m expecting to play amazing tennis every time.
“But I’d rather have that pressure and the expectation to go far. And compared to last year I’m much more confident. I feel like I’m playing some of the best tennis in my life.”
Earlier, during the second set, Kyrgios had complained about being able to smell marijuana in the stadium.
“If it was food smells, I wouldn’t be complaining,” Kyrgios told umpire Jaume Campistol.
“It’s marijuana. When an athlete has asthma, it’s obviously not ideal.”
Campistol responded by making a plea to the spectators.
“As a courtesy to the players, please refrain from smoking around the court,” he said.
Kyrgios is no stranger to getting upset with Grand Slam crowds.
In July’s Wimbledon final, he demanded a fan be ejected from Centre Court at the All England Club for consuming “700 drinks” and being “drunk out of her mind.”
The woman who was the target of the Australian’s anger said she intended to sue over the “baseless and reckless allegations”.
Kyrgios was also fined $10,000 for spitting in the direction of fans during a first round match at Wimbledon.