Nick Kyrgios serves against Antoine Hoang. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Nick Kyrgios serves against Antoine Hoang. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Kyrgios’ shirt collar called out by umpire

NICK Kyrgios had a three word-message for his fans written on his shirt collar and only needed three sets to dismiss France's Antoine Hoang 6-4 6-2 6-4 in his second-round match at the US Open on Friday (AEST).

Unfortunately the chair umpire quickly reminded him it was against tournament rules to be sporting a message on his playing uniform.

Kyrgios, whose collar read "Just Do You" - a variation of Nike's "Just Do It" slogan - reportedly objected to the objection. "I wanna see the rule," he said. "I wanna see the rule. I'm not going to play until you show me the rule."

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But he had his collar down when play began in front of a jam-packed Grandstand arena that was described as "the biggest of the week" for that court.

From that point the Aussie renegade negotiated the match without much fanfare - almost.

Kyrgios had a smooth opening, taking the first set 6-4 before breaking in the first and fifth games of the second set to take it 6-2.

Kyrgios also had special edition NYC shoes. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Kyrgios also had special edition NYC shoes. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

The first minor hiccup didn't arrive until early in the third when Hoang - having been broken in the first game of the set - managed to break back to level it at 1-1.

Kyrgios immediately broke again but after taking a 4-1 lead found trouble on serve as Hoang fought back to 4-3.

FIREWORKS FINALLY ARRIVE

The fireworks the fans were waiting for finally arrived with Kyrgios serving in the eighth game of the third set when Hoang hit a shot that was called out but challenged after Kyrgios heard the chair umpire call game.

Kyrgios talks to the match official.
Kyrgios talks to the match official.

He fired up, questioning the umpire before refusing to talk to him and calling an official on the court to explain.

"You can say game and then challenge? Is that what you're telling me? He said game, he said the score," Kyrgios railed. "He hit the ball out. He said game. The game's finished now."

The official allowed the challenge to stand but Kyrgios served it out with ease to hold for 5-3, before winning the set 6-4.

His progression to a third round clash against rising Russian star Andrey Rublev - who defeated Roger Federer in Cincinnati earlier this month and knocked out eighth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas in New York - matches his deepest run at Flushing Meadows.

But a very open draw has him eyeing the second week.

"New York's got a fair few distractions so I'm trying to stay away from that," Kyrgios said. "It's one of my favourite tournaments of the year so I'm really trying to strap in and go far."

Kyrgios will meet the winner of fellow Aussie Alexei Popyrin's clash against Italy's Matteo Berrettini if he makes it past Rublev.

From there 13th-seed Gael Monfils looms as a potential quarterfinal opponent before what could be a blockbuster semi against Rafael Nadal.

Kyrgios' straightforward progress through tournament has been in contrast to the ripples he's created off court.

The 24-year-old accused the governing body for men's tennis, the ATP, of being "pretty corrupt" after his first-round win against Steve Johnson when he was asked about his record $A167,000 fine in Cincinnati earlier this month.

Kyrgios backtracked, saying he was trying to highlight what he sees as a "double standard" in how he's treated by officials, but the ATP considered the comment a "major offence" and has launched an investigation.

It was a mixed day for the Aussie men at Flushing Meadows as Popyrin and Alex De Minaur both surged into the third round but Jordan Thompson bowed out and Thanasi Kokkinakis was forced to withdraw from his match against Nadal.

News Corp Australia

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