Nick Kyrgios has crashed out of the US Open in the opening round for the first time since 2017. The Australian started the match well against 18th seed Roberto Bautista-Agut, but soon lost his composure following a tight first set loss amidst a disagreement with the match officials.
Kyrgios, known for his fiery outbursts, questioned the chair umpire on why he had to collect his own towel between points - a new COVID protocol introduced at the tournament - claiming that it took up too much time between points.
“I don’t want to walk side to side,” he told umpire Carlos Bernardes.
“I still have to get it. Like, it’s f**king 70 degrees out here, bro. I don’t want to walk back and forth, back and forth. How many extra steps is that? That’s so stupid.”
— US Open Tennis (@usopen) August 31, 2021
After conceding the first two sets, the 26-year-old seemed to have no answers to combat the Spaniard's game in the third. Despite the efforts of the New York crowd to fire him up as the clock passed midnight local time, Kyrgios lost the third set 6-0 and ended his US Open campaign less than two hours after it started.
Before Kyrgios took the court, more controversy played out at Arthur Ashe Stadium, with former world number one Andy Murray losing to Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas in five close sets.
After winning the fourth set, Tsitsipas took a lengthy bathroom break, leaving Murray fuming. After returning, Tsitsipas broke Murray's serve and eventually ran away with the set, leaving Murray to state that he "lost respect for him" in his post match press conference.
The 23-year-old drew criticism from Alexander Zverev earlier this month at the Cincinnati Open for taking an extended bathroom break, with the young German accusing Tsitsipas of receiving coaching.
— Lakshya Chopra (@LakshyaNotLaksh) August 30, 2021
Elsewhere, second seed Daniil Medvedev won through easily against veteran Richard Gasquet, as did fellow Russian Andrey Rublev, recording a straight sets win over Ivo Karlovic.
Australian's John Millman and James Duckworth both lost their first round matchups, while Alexei Popyrin dug deep to come out victorious against Moldovan Radu Albot in four sets.
On the women's side of the draw, former two time champion Naomi Osaka had an easy win against Marie Bouzkova on her return to grand slam tennis after sitting out Wimbledon for personal reasons.
— ESPN (@espn) August 31, 2021
Sloane Stephens and Coco Gauff both won their respective matches, setting up an all American clash when they meet in the second round. While second seed Aryna Sabalenka had a scare in her match against Nina Stojanovic, eventually closing out the third set 6-0.
Grand Slam champions Angelique Kerber, Garbine Muguruza and Simona Halep all won their way through to the second round, while Ons Jabeur continued her solid season with a straight sets win over Alize Cornet. The only Australian woman in action on day one, Astra Sharma, lost to eighth seed Barbora Krejcikova 6-0 6-4.
World number one Ash Barty begins her campaign on Tuesday local time, joined by fellow Australians Sam Stosur, Storm Sanders and Alja Tomljanovic in her section of the draw.