Australian tennis star Nick Kyrgios found himself on the receiving end of a chorus of boos from the crowd who came to watch his quarter-final match against Britain’s Cameron Norrie in Atlanta.
The world number 18 had already lost the first set and was 3-0 down in the second when he decided enough was enough.
Kyrgios had taken an earlier medical timeout for an apparent hip problem before eventually retiring hurt.
In what is an apparent case of ‘the boy who cried wolf’, the Atlanta crowd swiftly turned on the young Aussie, incensed that they had been denied the opportunity to see a full match.
Skip to 7:17 in the video below to see the moment Kyrgios left the court and hear the crowd reaction.
Unfortunately for Kyrgios, his reputation as a player willing to tank (lose on purpose) if things are not going his own way precedes him, and a genuine injury may be perceived with suspicion as a result.
He called a premature end to his 2017 ATP tour campaign in October to give himself time to recover from recurring knee and shoulder injuries.
But a turbulent season which has regularly seen his antics make headline news does not appear to be changing course in the foreseeable future.
Kyrgios appeared to stop trying when trailing to Kei Nishikori at this year’s Wimbledon (just one of a string of tanking accusations over the years), notably giving up a service break in the second set against the Japanese star with a 215km second-serve double-fault.
However, he did find some sympathy from an unlikely source after this latest incident; Cameron Norrie, the man who enters the semi-finals in Atlanta at Kyrgios’ expense.
The Brit said in an interview after his victory: “I really feel for the guy.”
“He’s so talented. Who knows what he could do in tennis if he was healthy?”
With the U.S Open but a month away, Kyrgios will be keen to iron out any injury concerns before entering the final Grand Slam of the tennis calendar.
And importantly for the Aussie, he must be seen to put 100% effort into his next match regardless of the circumstances.
If yesterday’s reaction in Atlanta to his retirement is anything to go by, patience and good-will is slowly drying up, and the talented bad-boy of Australian tennis is in danger of losing the support of those who may just help push him over the line one day in a major final.