Kyrgios umpire criticized by U.S. Open for going 'beyond protocol'
04 September, 2018, 12:03 | Author: Elena Meyer
Spectators on Court 17 of the on-going US Open witnessed a rather unusual interaction with the umpire of the game Mohamed Lahyani and Nick Kyrgios who seemed to be struggling against Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert.
The 52-year-old Lahyani, who until Thursday was perhaps best known for umpiring the 11-hour marathon between John Isner and Nicolas Mahut in the first round of Wimbledon in 2010, was roundly criticized by players, pundits and fans alike for taking the extraordinary decision to try and rouse Kyrgios when the Australian was trailing Herbert by a set and 3-0 in the match. He said he liked me, I'm not sure if that was encouragement.
After the conversation that reached well beyond Lahyani's officiating role, Kyrgios managed to turn the match around, dropping just six games of the remaining 25 to set up a third round against Roger Federer.
The enigmatic Australian, viewed as one of the sport's great talents who has yet to fulfil his potential, looked set to produce another lacklustre effort as he stayed cemented to the baseline, barely flinching as Herbert served for a 3-0 lead.
The USTA, already under siege over a succession of rules blunders this grand slam, was also understood to be unimpressed with Lahyani's conduct and investigating the incident.
Organisers said on Friday that Lahyani "went beyond protocol" but will be allowed to continue officiating. "I know this is not you".
Players are forbidden from receiving on-court coaching during matches, and Herbert remains unhappy at the USTA's claim that Lahyani was checking on Kyrgios' condition. I'm not sure if that was encouragement.
Federer confirmed a Sunday (AEST) showstopper with Kyrgios at Arthur Ashe Stadium with a 7-5 6-4 6-4 win over another Frenchman, Benoit Paire.
Sixth seed Caroline Garcia, who looked in good form in beating Briton Johanna Konta in the first round, is up against Olympic champion Monica Puig on Grandstand, followed by men's seventh seed Marin Cilic, the 2014 champion, who meets Poland's Hubert Hurkacz. "I got pissed off", said 2011 and 2015 champion Djokovic. "(I) may be enjoying NY a little less, but that gives me, you know, the credibility to play better".
Asked how he would respond if the umpire in the next match did the same thing as Lahyani, Federer said: "That won't happen". He said: "I don't really realise I think". He (Kyrgios) behaves the way he behaves. "I spend the least possible time here on site because that takes energy away", Zverev said. "His performance will continue to be evaluated, as will that of all chair umpires throughout the course of the US Open". While people called for Lahyani to be yanked immediately from the match, the statement refused to address whether the umpire was in the wrong or what would happen next to address the matter. "I think everybody knows that". But you don't go and speak like that.
"It's a conversation, and a conversation can change your mindset". That's why it won't happen again. "I think everybody knows that".
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