Nick Kyrgios is channelling his frustration at an Australian Open umpire into a determined comeback against Frenchman Ugo Humbert.
The Australian world No.47 had several fiery exchanges with chair umpire Marijana Veljovic during the match on his favourite court John Cain Arena at Melbourne Park.
He also destroyed his racquet after he lost the first set 7-5 but managed to claw way back to clinch the second set 6-4 before losing the third set 6-3.
Kyrgios’ comeback gathered pace as he won a tie-break in the fourth set after saving two match points and breaking back to level the score.
He then won the fourth set 7-6 in a tie-breaker to force a fifth one that will decide the match, stunning the increasingly excited crowd.
Nick Kyrgios (left) has had a number of heated exchanges with Australian Open chair umpire Marijana Veljovic (right) but is seemingly channelling his frustrations to stay in the game against Frenchman Ugo Humbert
Kyrgios argued with Veljovic over the net sensor, which he claimed was ‘ruining the game’
Twitter fans praised Kyrgios for ‘channelling his fire energy’
The tennis bad boy has always been a very emotional player, drawing energy and adrenaline from conflict – partially creating his loudmouth persona.
Tennis fans praised Kyrgios’ incredible comeback on Twitter.
‘Love Nick, just starting to channel his fire energy! Gold at heart and magic hand wriggled him out of the opprobrium,’ one person wrote.
Another said: ‘Tennis needs Nick Kyrgios. He is pure entertainment, so much skill, emotion, anger, passion. I’m a big fan.’
Commentators noted that Kyrgios also appears to have drawn energy from the rowdy crowd, who have been chanting and cheering throughout the match.
But others were not fans of his on-court behaviour.
‘Nick Kyrgios is the angriest sportsman around,’ one person wrote on Twitter.
In the fifth set, Kyrgios had another heated exchange with Veljovic over the net sensor
The world number 47 threw away his racquet in disgust after losing the first set 7-5
In the fifth set, Kyrgios had another heated exchange with Veljovic over the net sensor.
‘Look at the score, man. It’s ruining the game,’ he said.
Kyrgios momentarily lost his cool midway through the first set when he was called for a let multiple times, despite believing his serve was above the net
‘Reset the machine, because the ball is this far off the net. Look at the replay,’ a fired up Kyrgios told Veljovic.
She replied: ‘I can’t do anything about it now.’
Kyrgios wouldn’t take no for an answer.
‘Obviously something is wrong, so reset the machine,’ he repeated.
‘Will do,’ the umpire replied.
His fiery temper was back on display when he threw away his racquet in disgust after he lost the first set 7-5.
Tennis fans went wild for umpire Veljovic online following her run-ins with Kyrgios
Kyrgios in discussion with Veljovic earlier in the game
Kyrgios explained he was just verbalising his frustrations in a short interview after losing the first set.
‘I’m a nutcase when I’m on the court. It was just heat of the battle type stuff, you know,’ he said.
‘Getting all those emotions out there again. You outlet at people you know have your back and you know that’s not going to change.
‘A lot of people can relate to outbursts. You just need to verbalise it and lash out at someone sometimes.
‘When I calmed down, I started playing some decent tennis.’
Veljovic was seen checking the net sensor after Kyrgios won the second set 6-4 to even the score
Emotions ran high again late in the second set over the net sensor while Kyrgios was serving to win the second set.
‘Just turn the machine off. Turn it off. Come on man. Like, yeah, it happened to his serve and it was this far over the net,’ a frustrated Kygrios told the umpire.
‘Also my serve. It’s ruining the game. Do you not understand that? You don’t understand it. Look at the score.’
Veljovic replied: ‘Yes, I know.’
Kyrgios argued: ‘It’s ruining the game though. What – how do you understand that? It happened in the first set. I told you to turn it off. Did you turn it off?’
Veljovic was seen checking the net sensor after Kyrgios won the second set 6-4 to even the score.
Kyrgios needed a new racquet for the second set after destroying the first one (pictured)
Tennis fans went wild for umpire Veljovic online following her run-ins with Kyrgios.
‘He’s gonna make that chair umpire real famous as far as umpires go, she’s already gets the most run cuz she’s pretty dimey,’ one fan tweeted.
‘Definitely won’t blame Kyrgios if he gets distracted by the umpire tonight.’
Alicia Gowans, the girlfriend of Kyrgios’ brother Christos was back in the players box with the family, two nights after she was ordered out of his box during the early stages of the first round clash.
Nick Kyrgios lost his cool and damaged a racquet (pictured) in the early stages of his clash with Ugo Humbert at the Australian Open