Published On: Fri, Aug 31st, 2018

Umpire’s pep talk to Kyrgios during match puts USTA in the dock

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Controversies don’t seem to let up this year for organizers of the US Open. After facing backlash over Alize Cornet change of attire, the organizers are now in a fix over a second round match involving Nick Kyrgios. During his second round encounter with Pierre-Hugues Herbert the Australian was down a set and 3-0 in the second set when umpire Mohamed Lahyani decided to give a little “pep talk” to the wildly erratic Aussie. Although Kyrgios later denied it in the press conference, the talk worked wonders for him as he not only claimed the second set in a tie break but also won the next two sets to win the match. Kyrgios’ opponent though was unamused of the whole situation when he later reviewed the footage in which the umpire Lahyani had apparently siad, “I want to help you. I want to help you,” “I’ve seen your matches: you’re great for tennis. “Nick, I know this is not you.”

Herbert said Lahyani should be punished as his actions were not “appropriate”. “I think this was not his job. I don’t think he’s a coach, he’s an umpire, and he should stay on his chair for that,” the Frenchman said. “If he makes a mistake, I think he should be also punished. He doesn’t make that many mistakes, and I think he’s a really good umpire.”

Lahyani ‘s action had a spilt opinion among tennis players and fans. Former 5 time champion Roger Federer and Kyrgios’ opponent in the third round, said he could understand what Lahyani was trying to do but giving such a pep talk on court is not justified. John McEnroe, who was eerily similar to Krygios in temperament said that for the first time in 40 years he agreed with an umpire for helping Kyrgios avoid tanking during the match.

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