PARIS • Volatile Australian Nick Kyrgios courted fresh controversy on the opening day of the French Open yesterday, by claiming he was the victim of biased umpiring and hinted that tennis' superstars are treated differently.
The player, who has a history of regular run-ins with officialdom, was hit with a code violation in the first-set tie-break of his opening Roland Garros match for yelling at a ball boy.
He accused experienced umpire Carlos Ramos of "unbelievable bias" for the decision which came in his 7-6 (8-6), 7-6 (8-6), 6-4 win over Italy's Marco Cecchinato. It was a reference to world No. 1 Novak Djokovic escaping any sanction for shoving umpire Carlos Bernardes at the Rome Masters last week.
"If that was me, it would have been a circus. The fact that nothing happened to Djokovic speaks for itself," said the 17th seed, who ranted that Ramos' decision was "f***ing bull****".
The code violation out on Court 1 was handed down by Ramos when Kyrgios screamed "towel" at the ball boy.
"When I get my towel I always say thank you to the ball boys but sometimes you get mad at them," added Kyrgios. "This time I said it a little louder. You only have 20 seconds between points and I didn't get my towel - it was a bit rough.
Men's singles, 1st rd Andrey Kuznetsov (Rus) bt Benjamin Becker (Ger) 6-2 6-2 6-4, Nick Kyrgios (Aus) bt Marco Cecchinato (Ita) 7-6 (8-6) 7-6 (8-6) 6-4, Igor Sijsling (Ned) bt Adrian Ungur (Rom) 6-1 6-2 7-6 (7-5), Teimuraz Gabashvili (Rus) bt Donald Young (USA) 7-6 (7-1) 6-2 6-3, Benoit Paire (Fra) bt Radu Albot (Mda) 6-2 4-6 6-4 1-6 6-4.
Women's singles, 1st rd Hsieh Su-wei (Tpe) bt Lara Arruabarrena (Esp) 7-6 (8-6) 6-3, Petra Kvitova (Cze) bt Danka Kovinic (Mne) 6-2 4-6 7-5, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (Rus) bt Sara Sorribes (Esp) 6-2 6-0, Viktorija Golubic (Sui) bt Alison Riske (USA) 6-2 1-6 6-2.
"I think I dealt with it OK. It didn't put me off but it is frustrating. I am an emotional player."
Despite his anger, he attempted to play down his latest bust-up and offered an olive branch to the ball boys at the French Open as well as the long-suffering officials.
"Maybe I have to be more patient with them. Maybe some of the kids don't speak English," said the 21-year-old, who was threatened with a ban last year after making lewd remarks about the girlfriend of defending champion Stan Wawrinka at the Montreal Masters.
"It is what it is. It's not an easy job for the umpires having to concentrate for five sets. All in all, they do a good job."
Kyrgios fired 16 aces and 50 winners on his way to victory over the 124th-ranked Cecchinato and goes on to face Dutch lucky loser Igor Sisjling.
In the women's draw, two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova survived a scare to beat Danka Kovinic of Montenegro 6-2, 4-6, 7-5 in 2hr 16mins.
The Czech 10th seed was two points away from defeat when she trailed the world No. 57 at 4-5 in the decider. But she claimed the next three games and goes on to face Taiwanese Hsieh Su-wei for a place in the last 32.
"Let's just say I'm glad that one is behind me and sorry for your blood pressure," Kvitova wrote in a tweet, adding an emoji of a smiling face with tears. The 2012 semi-finalist committed 10 double faults in a typically roller-coaster display against an opponent who made the Istanbul final on clay this season.
Day 2: Singtel TV Ch114/115 & StarHub Ch208/209, 5pm