An extraordinary mid-match speech by the bench referee has dismissed Nick Kyrgios in a possible third-round success of the US Open with Roger Federer in New York.
The Swede Mohamed Lahyani is already under fire for his unprecedented intervention, but Kyrgios rolls after achieving a victory by 4 to 6, 7-5, 6-3 and 6-0 over the Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert.
Kyrgios was losing 3-0 in the second set, after having wasted the first with a wild-double-second-fault, when Lahyani left his chair to ask the Australian to start trying for the good of the paying crowd and avoid being sanctioned – again – for not giving your best effort.
"I want to help you, I want to help you," said Lahyani.
"I've seen your matches: you're great for tennis.
"Nick, I know it's not you."
Looking for some kind of physical treatment, Kyrgios said: "Okay," just call the coach to the court and I'll try. "
But when the coach arrived and asked what Kyrgios needed for treatment, the Australian said: "I do not know, check my wrist or something … Can you stay here for two minutes?"
The controversial "coaching" of the referee was savagely attacked on social networks, with fans furious at their perception of partiality towards Kyrgios and alleging that it was unfair to Herbert.
Former Australian referee and former head of ASADA Richard Ings even weighed.
"I'm tormenting my brain when I think of a situation that requires a chair judge to speak to a player like that, I went back thousands of matches, I was the head of the ATP, I can not think of any," Ings tweeted.
The USTA, which is already besieged by a succession of rules that made a serious mistake in this grand slam, was also unimpressed with Lahyani's conduct and investigated the incident.
But it certainly seemed to work for Kyrgios, who crawled back into the contest after being totally disinterested in the early stages.
Yawning a second, Kyrgios handed a winner back to the next to break Herbert to return to serve at 4-5 in the second set before offering a fist bomb subdued to his box.
The tiebreaker was secured to equalize the level and then break Herbert early in the third set to take command.
Fully revitalized, Kyrgios only lost three games in the last two sets, sealing the victory after two hours and 47 minutes.
Federer was also playing against a Frenchman, Benoit Paire, in his second-round match on Thursday.
A victory for the Grand Slam champion on 20 occasions would confirm the success of a Saturday with Kyrgios, almost certainly under the lights at Arthur Ashe Stadium, the largest stadium in world tennis.
When asked after the match what the referee was saying when he was left behind for a set and a break, Kyrgios said: "I was worried about how he was playing, like Nick, are you okay? & # 39; "
"He (Herbert) let me go back to that set, I should have served it.
"I stayed here in the second set, I had no choice."