Nick Kyrgios was thrashed in straight sets by American Taylor Fritz at the Cincinnati Masters this morning AEST as his running feud with umpire Renaud Lichtenstein and a potential knee injury took centre stage.
The Australian’s 6-3 6-2 loss was just his second defeat since the Wimbledon final and was heavily influenced by his war of words with the match official from the outset of the match.
Kyrgios was in one of those moods and seemed to be consumed by distractions around the court rather than the play on it. He complained about “standards” while pointing out problems with the court surface, fans walking in and out between points and flickering on-court screens.
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He grew frustrated during the third game of the match as Fritz held for a 2-1 lead and started ranting towards the chair umpire about the distraction the malfunctioning screens caused.
“The highest level we play in and you guys can’t get something like that right. It’s embarrassing,” he said with a few expletives sprinkled around the message.
“Yesterday you couldn’t even clean this f—– thing up. I was drinking someone else’s water. Today the screens. What about tomorrow? Standards. Standards.”
Lichtenstein warned he would be penalised for swearing.
“Do something about it,” he told the umpire, who responded: “I told you, I called already. And I’m gonna call again and again and again.”
Kyrgios wasn’t finished there.
At the next change of ends, he was upset about fans moving around and talking during games, and took his complaints to the umpire once more.
“People f—– walking around mid-point,” he fumed.
To which the Lichtenstein responded: “Stop using the F-word or you will get a penalty every time. Sometimes you play with them moving, sometimes you don’t.”
“Is it normal for people to leave in the middle of the point?” Kyrgios said while criticising Lichtenstein’s ability to do his job
“Announce it, you have a microphone. What’s your job, to control the match? Why aren’t you controlling the match? Why don’t you do your job properly? If everyone did their job I would have no problem.”
The in-form Aussie’s full schedule over the past few months seemed to catch up with him throughout the round of 32 match.
He required a physio to attend his knee towards the end, leading to fears he may not be at his physical peak for the final grand slam of the year at Flushing Meadows.
“You can hear the boos around the stadium. They don’t feel like he gave it his best effort out there and we’re hoping the knee isn’t too serious but he’s got to show more,” former US Open finalist Greg Rusedski said on Amazon Prime’s coverage of the match.
“He’s improved out of sight but physically he’s got to get stronger.
“You’re worried about the knee physically. It’s a lot easier to do on grass courts than hard courts.”
Kyrgios has played 12 singles matches in August to date with his defeat to Fritz only his second during the month, having also fallen to Hubert Hurkacz in the quarter-finals of the Canadian Open.
In addition to his singles, the 27-year-old has been playing men’s doubles and won the Atlanta Open alongside Thanasi Kokkinakis before completing a historic Citi Open double with Jack Sock.
Kyrgios’ live ranking is currently No.26 and despite some believing the more action on court could be detrimental to getting through the US Open healthy and at peak fitness, US tennis great Andy Roddick had a different view regarding the Australian’s full playing schedule.
“To go through singles and doubles and not to tap out mentally or physically is a big, big sign,” Roddick said on the Tennis Channel.
“I think it puts him into the top two, maybe three, favourites for the US Open.”
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Collingwood star Brodie Grundy has been urged to renegotiate his monster contract if he wants to remain at the club beyond this season.
Grundy has been left in an awkward position this year, sidelined with a knee injury at first before suffering an ankle injury in his comeback attempt which ended his season as the Magpies rocketed up the ladder into the top four.
Despite the 28-year-old being signed through until the end of the 2027 season, his name has consistently been thrown up in trade rumours, with the club reportedly keen to offload his hefty seven-year, $7 million deal signed at the end of 2019.
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Grundy is understood to be keen on remaining at Collingwood where he shares close ties with a number of teammates. But according to The Age’s Caroline Wilson, to stay a Magpie, he will have to sacrifice.
“If he really wants to stay at Collingwood, he’s narrowed his options, he’s got to take a pay cut. They’ve got to sit down, the two parties,” she told Nine’s Footy Classified.
“I know they offered him a ridiculous amount of money at the time, and at the time it seemed worth it, but both parties have to come to the table here.
“He hasn’t been able to deliver on the money.”
Wilson’s suggestion was rubbished by The Age’s Sam McClure.
Liverpool are struggling with injuries, particularly to senior midfielders and that has prompted Jurgen Klopp to reassess his summer transfer business.
Thiago, Curtis Jones, Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are all sidelined through injury and that has forced the Reds to make a major transfer U-turn.
Despite being adamant his side does not need to delve back into the transfer market in search of a new midfielder, Klopp recently admitted he has changed his mind.
“We are looking for it,” Klopp told reporters, as quoted by the Daily Mail.
“If it is the right player, we need him. If it is not the right player, we don’t need him.”
However, given the fact the summer window closes in just over 24 hours, Liverpool are facing a race against time when it comes to the possibility of adding a new player to their squad.
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Providing an update on the club’s efforts, leading transfer expert Fabrizio Romano, who writes exclusively for CaughtOffside via Substack, said: “The club do not want to sign just any player for the sake of it, so they are still putting in a lot of work trying to identify the right kind of player.
“However, even though they’re continuing to do their research, at the moment, there are no easy options.”
Two players who have been heavily linked with moves to Anfield have been RB Leipzig’s Konrad Laimer and Inter Milan’s Nicolo Barella, but Romano has now ruled out deals for both midfielders.
“Konrad Laimer was appreciated but RB Leipzig will not let him leave now, so Liverpool will have to explore other names from now until tomorrow night’s deadline,” the Italian added.
“I know a lot of you want to know if Inter Milan’s Nicolo Barella is an option, but unfortunately, he is not. There is no chance for the Italian to move to Anfield this summer.”
Do you think Liverpool can make a midfield signing in time? – Let us know in the comments.