Nick Kyrgios Received A Pep Talk From An Umpire, Then Won His Match

Through one set and three games, tennis bad boy Nick Kyrgios appeared to be well on his way to tanking another match. The Aussie was down a set and three games down in the second set of his match against Pierre-Hugues Herbert when something bizarre happened — umpire Mo Lahyani got down from his chair and gave the boy a nice little pep talk to get him going.

“I want to help you,” Lahyani said to Kyrgios during a break in play.

Kyrgios won the second set after a pep talk from the chair umpire Mo Lahyani.

A USTA rep told me it is already looking into Lahyani's conduct in this match.

Absurd scenes. #USOpen

— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) August 30, 2018

The New York Times’ Ben Rothenberg reports Lahyani’s conduct is under investigation, and it probably should be given Kyrgios got his head out of his ass and won the match in four sets. Almost like he was a new man after words of encouragement, nothing suspicious here!

4-6, 7-6, 6-3, 6-0@NickKyrgios rallies to defeat Herbert to book a spot in R3…

He awaits the winner of Federer/Paire!#USOpen

— US Open Tennis (@usopen) August 30, 2018

In Lahyani’s defense, umpires do have an obligation to warn players of tanking when they see it. (Or maybe he had a little money on Kyrgios to win the match, who knows.) Rothenberg points out Lahyani has a history of doing this type of thing:

Lahyani has done similar things before, trying to pep up players who seem down in the dumps…which is absolutely not something a referee in any sport should be doing.

From Valencia years ago (h/t @pasha_zakr)

— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) August 30, 2018

Meanwhile, Kyrgios doesn’t seem too bothered about his mid-match coaching session:

By advancing to the third round, he’ll pocket at least $156,000 at the US Open, and possibly more if he manages to beat Roger Federer in the next round.


The US Open has released this comical statement:

#USOpen puts out a statement on Kyrgios-Lahyani with its official version of events… which doesn’t align all that well with what was audible on microphones and why it was an issue.

— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) August 30, 2018

Kyrgios also shut down a Genie Bouchard fan during that wild second set:

Surreal exchange:

Heckler tells Kyrgios “just leave, we want Genie” Bouchard, who’s up next on Court 17.

Kyrgios responds: “Well, you’ll never have her.”

— Daniel Rapaport (@Daniel_Rapaport) August 30, 2018

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