Nick Kyrgios has doubled down on his fierce criticism of umpire Carlos Bernardes that earned him a game penalty in a bad-tempered defeat to Jannik Sinner at the Miami Open.
Kyrgios lost his cool towards the end of the first set and was given a first code violation for an audible obscenity.
He was hit with another penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct for something he said in the tie-breaker and docked a point.
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After double faulting to lose the set, Kyrgios exploded at umpire Bernardes and then smashed his racquet on the court - a third code violation which led to a game penalty.
Kyrgios was unrepentant at the end of the match, calling Bernardes an "absolute clown" and refusing to shake his hand, and he continued to vent on social media after getting off court.
“‘You could do the job of the umpire’ - what was said to my best friend that got me ‘unsportsmanlike code violation’ at 5-3 in the first set tie break,” he wrote on Twitter.
“With 100 of thousands of dollars on the line that was the decision he made because the umpires ‘feelings got hurt. GET NEW PEOPLE.
“Don’t get it twisted. I got mad respect for Jannik Sinner, he is one of my favourite players and he was TOO GOOD. I am aiming all of this at an umpire who clearly ISNT GOOD ENOUGH to be doing these matches.
“Nothing but a slap on the wrist for him right? What a joke.”
Kyrgios’ actions are likely to see him hit with a hefty fine by the ATP.
He was fined £19,000 at Indian Wells last week after smashing a racquet which bounced off the court and very nearly hit a ball boy.
Former world No. 1 Andy Roddick gave some tongue-in-cheek advice on social media after that incident to show players how to ‘safely’ smash racquets and hit balls in frustration.
Asked about Kyrgios’ outburst towards Bernardes, Roddick told Tennis Channel: “It's pretty easy, once you have a warning, don't do anything else that would warrant another warning.
"I actually didn't disagree with Nick why he got the point penalty in the tiebreaker. Him saying, 'this referee is bad and someone else could do better', I feel like he has a valid point there. Carlos, who I like, might have gotten his feelings hurt. That doesn't feel like it's unsportsmanlike conduct.
"It feels like ego was maybe in play there. But then, it's not the reason you're upset, it's how you react to it. Breaking your racquet right in his face when you know the umpire is already ticking, he already wants to give you a warning.
"Your problem solving is to smash a racquet to give him a break. That’s the part where you lose me a little bit. You don't want to hear the opinions but then you do something like that where it's kind of impossible to lay off and say that was absolutely not the right thing to do if you wanted to win this tennis match."
Kyrgios had already complained about the court speed and the volume of Bernardes' walkie-talkie before blowing up in the tie-break.
He also posed for a selfie with a fan who ran onto the court during the match.
Former British No.1 Tim Henman said the atmosphere was "a proper circus".
Highlights: Sinner beats Kyrgios in feisty contest to reach Miami quarter-finals
"For the vast part of the match Carlos Bernardes got it spot on," said Henman on Amazon Prime.
"He gave Nick a little bit of leeway in the first set but if behave like that you have to face the consequences.
"The biggest obstacle Kyrgios had was his opponent. It was a proper circus out here. There were a lot of distraction, a lot of opportunities for Sinner to lose concentration and he didn't do that.”
One of the standout images from the match was Sinner calmly sitting in his chair after the first set as Kyrgios raged at the umpire.
"It is tough, of course,” said Sinner afterwards. “But I think I have done a great job today, because usually you don't play many matches like this, so you have to be in the present moment, as I said, and I think I have done a great job about that.
“Also, I knew before the match that I had to raise the level a little bit, because he's the kind of player who pushes the ball a lot. When he's serving well, also his return gets better. I tried to stay there every point, which I have done, so I think it was a positive match."
Kyrgios was back on the court later in the day as he and Thanasi Kokkinakis reached the doubles semi-finals. Sinner faces unseeded Francisco Cerundolo in the quarter-finals.
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