Tennis: Kyrgios told to seek help to cut ban

Troubled Australian can have his 8-week ban reduced to 3 weeks if he sees psychologist

Nick Kyrgios has apologised for his behaviour at the Shanghai Masters, where he had appeared disinterested and wanting to lose his match.
Nick Kyrgios has apologised for his behaviour at the Shanghai Masters, where he had appeared disinterested and wanting to lose his match.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

SYDNEY • Tennis Australia (TA) said yesterday that wayward star Nick Kyrgios will seek a reduced ban from the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) by seeing a sports psychologist.

The ATP has ordered Kyrgios to see a sports psychologist or face an eight-week ban after his tantrum at the Shanghai Masters last week.

A TA spokesman said that the 21-year-old has agreed to seek help, but his season would be over once the reduced three-week ban expires on Nov 7.

"We have spoken to his management and Nick has agreed to seek the help of a sports psychologist and will now be available to play in the Hopman Cup in early January," she said.

The Hopman Cup mixed-team event is in Perth from Jan 1-7, ahead of next year's opening Grand Slam, the Australian Open, in Melbourne on Jan 16.

Kyrgios has apologised for his controversial on-court behaviour, after the ATP hit him with the conditional eight-week ban and further fines yesterday.

The tennis tour organiser added US$25,000 (S$34,800) to a US$16,500 penalty ordered last week and said the eight-week ban would be reduced to three weeks if he "enters a plan of care under the direction of a sports psychologist or an equivalent plan approved by ATP".

Kyrgios, who has courted unwanted headlines in his short but stormy career, apologised in a statement and said he would use the time to "improve on and off the court".

"Following the ATP's decision today I would like to take this opportunity to apologise again for the circumstances in Shanghai," he said.

"The season has been a long one as I battled several injuries and other challenges towards the end of the summer.

"The Asian circuit was particularly tough after the long week and win in Tokyo and with the travel throughout the continent, my body finally just gave out in Shanghai both physically and mentally.

"This is no excuse, and I know very well that I need to apologise to the fans - in Shanghai and other parts of the world - as well as the tournament organisers."

Kyrgios said he regretted how his year was ending.

"I regret that my year is ending this way and that I will not have a chance to continue chasing the ATP Finals. This was an important goal for me," he said. "I do understand and respect the decision by the ATP and I will use this time off to improve on and off the court."

TA said it supported the ATP sanction on Kyrgios, but expressed its concern over the troubled star's well-being.

"Nick's health and well-being is a priority and the ATP has offered a reduced penalty on the provision that he seeks appropriate professional advice, which he has agreed to do," TA said in a statement. "Nick understands the gravity of his actions, has shown remorse and expressed a willingness to improve."


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 18, 2016, with the headline 'Kyrgios told to seek help to cut ban'. Print Edition | Subscribe