Rafael Nadal has demanded action from the ATP after quarter-final opponent Nick Kyrgios narrowly missed a ball boy as he smashed his racket. The hot-headed Aussie lost his temper during a nail-biting encounter with the Spaniard, who he was hoping to beat for the fourth time in his career.
Kyrgios had not dropped a set at the BNP Paribas Open before he came up against 21-time Grand Slam champion Nadal. The 26-year-old’s most impressive win came against eighth seed Casper Ruud before Jannik Sinner pulled out of their scheduled last 16 clash.
Nadal, meanwhile, was on the ropes straight away against American Sebastian Korda, before battling back to claim the three-set tie in the first round. Since then, he saw off Dan Evans and Reilly Opelka to set up his date with Kyrgios.
The Australian claimed the second set after losing the first, but Nadal prevailed 7-6 in the decider. A mouthwatering clash between the veteran and Spanish teenager Carlos Alcaraz awaits in the semi-finals.
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During the tense affair, Kyrgios played up to the crowd on numerous occasions. A broken racket is nothing new for the reigning Australian Open men’s doubles champion, while he also pointed out Hollywood actor Ben Stiller in the crowd to make a point to a heckler.
The real controversy came after the match, however. After shaking the umpire’s hand, he broke another racket by theatrically smashing it off the ground before it bounced up and hurtled towards an unsuspecting ball boy.
The German was slapped with a suspended eight-week ban, which many considered to be lenient.
On his own incident, Kyrgios was dismissive after the match when he claimed his racket was ‘three metres away from the kid’. However, he later tracked down the ball boy on social media where he offered a gesture to try and make amends.