Australia’s Nick Kyrgios to seek psychologist help after ATP ban threat following Shanghai Masters outburst

The 21-year-old is handed an eight-week ban, but it can be reduced to just three should the three-time winner follow an agreed programme although his season is over

PUBLISHED : Monday, 17 October, 2016, 6:59pm
UPDATED : Monday, 17 October, 2016, 10:38pm

Tennis Australia said wayward star Nick Kyrgios will seek a reduced ATP ban and see a sports psychologist to avoid a longer suspension.

The ATP has ordered Kyrgios to see a sports psychologist or face an eight-week ban after his tantrum at the Shanghai Masters last week.

A Tennis Australia spokeswoman said Kyrgios had agreed to seek help, but the 21-year-old’s season was over once the reduced three-week ban had expired on November 7.

“We have spoken to his management and Nick has agreed to seek the help of a sports psychologist and will now be available to play in the Hopman Cup in early January,” she said.

The Hopman Cup mixed teams event is in Perth from January 1-7 ahead of next year’s opening grand slam the Australian Open in Melbourne on January 16.

Kyrgios has apologised for his controversial on-court behaviour after the ATP hit him with the conditional eight-week ban and further fines on Monday.

Nick Kyrgios banned and told to seek help after Shanghai Masters tantrums

The tennis tour organisers added US$25,000 to a US$16,500 penalty ordered last week and said the eight-week ban would be reduced to three weeks if he “enters a plan of care under the direction of a sports psychologist, or an equivalent plan approved by ATP.”

Kyrgios, who has courted unwanted headlines in his short but stormy career, apologised in a statement and said he would use the time to “improve on and off the court”.

“Following the ATP’s decision today I would like to take this opportunity to apologise again for the circumstances in Shanghai,” he said.

“The season has been a long one as I battled several injuries and other challenges towards the end of the summer.

“The Asian circuit was particularly tough after the long week and win in Tokyo and with the travel throughout the continent, my body finally just gave out in Shanghai both physically and mentally.

“This is no excuse, and I know very well that I need to apologise to the fans – in Shanghai and other parts of the world – as well as the tournament organisers in Shanghai who do an amazing job.

“I regret that my year is ending this way and that I will not have a chance to continue chasing the ATP Finals. This was an important goal for me.

“I do understand and respect the decision by the ATP and I will use this time off to improve on and off the court.”

Tennis Australia said it supported the ATP sanction on Kyrgios, but expressed its concern over the troubled star’s well-being.

Nick Kyrgios slams China tennis fans as they boo him for not trying

“Nick’s health and well-being is a priority and the ATP has offered a reduced penalty on the provision that he seeks appropriate professional advice, which he has agreed to do,” Tennis Australia said in a statement.

“Nick understands the gravity of his actions, has shown remorse and expressed a willingness to improve.”

The Shanghai outburst was the latest in a long line of incidents involving the Australian after he was given a suspended one-month ban last year for making comments to Stan Wawrinka about his wife.

“Nick’s conduct in Shanghai was unacceptable, disrespectful to the sport and its fans,” said ATP executive chairman Chris Kermode.

“We take these matters very seriously and he has since apologised for his actions.

“Nick is a phenomenal talent and our hope is that he uses this time away from the tour constructively and, with some support, is able to return to competition with an improved mindset and stronger than ever before.”

The ATP said that after an investigation into the Australian’s second round match in Shanghai, Kyrgios had been found guilty of conduct contrary to the integrity of the game.

This meant an additional fine and an immediate eight week suspension.

“However, the suspension will be reduced to three tournament weeks upon agreement that the player enters a plan of care under the direction of a sports psychologist, or an equivalent plan approved by ATP,” said the ATP.