Nick Kyrgios walked off the court in a fit of rage after throwing a chair onto the red clay at the Italian Open and was defaulted from his second-round match.
First, the 24-year-old Australian slammed his racket to the clay and kicked a water bottle in his match against Norwegian qualifier Casper Ruud. Then he picked up a white chair and flung it onto the court.
“He was getting angry that some guy was walking in between his first and second serve,” Ruud said. “Then he was getting more and more angry... He does whatever he feels like doing. I think he got what he deserved.”
Before he was defaulted, Kyrgios received a warning for ball abuse, then was docked a point for unsportsmanlike conduct and lost a game for more unsportsmanlike conduct.
“Very eventful day to say the least,” Kyrgios wrote on Instagram. “Emotions got the better of me and I just wanted to say that the atmosphere was crazy out there today, just super unfortunate that it had to end in a default. Sorry Roma, see you again, maybe.”
Kyrgios, who has a history of bad behaviour, was suspended by the ATP Tour in 2016 for “tanking” a match and insulting fans during a loss at the Shanghai Masters.
The latest incident occurred on an outer court at the Foro Italico with Ruud leading 6-3, 6-7 (5), 2-1. Ruud said many players were debating how long Kyrgios should be suspended for.
“It doesn’t seem like anything makes him change these days,” Ruud said. “The ATP should do something... I’m not the only one who thinks he should be suspended for at least half a year.”
The men’s tour said Kyrgios will lose his €33,635 (£29,366) in prize money from the tournament and 45 ATP points, adding there will likely be further punishment pending an investigation.
Kyrgios was also fined €20,000 (£17,461) for the three unsportsmanlike conduct penalties he received during the match and must cover the cost of his hospitality during the tournament, the ATP said.
Before leaving the court, Kyrgios shook hands with Ruud and the chair umpire.
In 2015, Kyrgios insulted Stan Wawrinka with crude remarks during a match in Montreal. He was fined $12,500 (£9,700) and given a suspended 28-day ban. He also attracted criticism for deciding not to play at the Olympics because of a spat with an Australian team official, and for firing back at retired players who have offered advice.
Meanwhile, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic each won twice to reach the quarter-finals.
A washout on Wednesday backed up play, causing the title contenders to try to win their double-headers as efficiently as possible to save energy.
Federer beat Joao Sousa 6-4, 6-3, then he saved two match points as he rallied past Borna Coric 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7).
Eight-time Rome champion Nadal cruised past Jeremy Chardy 6-0, 6-1 then quickly dispatched Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-1, 6-0.
Djokovic eliminated Denis Shapovalov 6-1, 6-3 and rolled past Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-3, 6-0.
Against Federer, Coric missed forehands into the net on both of his match points in the tiebreaker. Federer converted his second match point when he forced Coric to hit a difficult, low volley into the net.
The 20-time Grand Slam champion will next face either local hope Fabio Fognini or Stefanos Tsitsipas.
Fognini started the day by beating Radu Albot 7-6 (6), 6-3 and was still to play Tsitsipas.
Spanish veteran Fernando Verdasco spent nearly five hours on court over six sets to get by Dominic Thiem and Karen Khachanov and reach the last eight.
In the women’s singles, Naomi Osaka also won twice to hold on to the No 1 ranking.
Osaka beat Dominika Cibulkova and Mihaela Buzarnescu both with the same score, 6-3, 6-3.