A controversial mid-match pep talk from the chair umpire is reported to have given Nick Kyrgios the spark required to win his match and enter the third round of the US Open, where he will now face Roger Federer.
Nick Kyrgios, who is currently ranked World No. 30 in men’s singles and Roger Federer, ranked World No. 2 in men’s singles tennis, will face each other on the tennis court in New York on Saturday in the 32nd round of the U.S. Open.
This comes after his win against Pierre-Hugues Herbert earlier today. However, controversy has arisen from this game, when chair umpire Mohamed Lahyani, got up of his seat and went across to Kyrgios after it appeared that the young tennis player stopped trying during the first set, even failing to move while his competitor served, leaving Herbert to win the set.
According to witnesses, Lahyani could be heard giving Kyrgios an unfair pep talk, saying things like “I want to help you”, “I’ve seen your matches: you’re great for tennis,” and “I know this is not you.”
After, Kyrgios came back winning the second, third, and fourth sets to win the match.
Kyrgios has laughed at these allegations that Lahyani gave him a motivational talk that helped him win. He commented saying that “We all know I had that moment in Shanghai where the referee said the same thing, ‘It’s not good for the integrity of the sport, doesn’t have a good look’ … I’m not sure it was encouragement. He said he liked me. I’m not sure that’s encouragement.”
Tournament referee, Brian Earley has backed Lahyani for not doing anything wrong, in an official statement released by The US Open saying that he “came out of the chair because of the noise level in the stadium during the changeover, to make sure he could communicate effectively with Kyrgios. [He] was concerned that Kyrgios might need medical attention…. He also informed Kyrgios that if his seeming lack of interest in the match continued, as the chair umpire, he would need to take action.”
Mohamed Lahyani is now under review by the United States Tennis Association.