Nick Kyrgios has suffered his third consecutive defeat, with America’s Riley Opelka registering a 4-6 7-6 6-4 victory over the Australian in the first round of the Canadian Open on Tuesday AEST.
Opelka recorded 22 aces during the comeback win in Toronto, and will face world No. 21 Grigor Dimitrov in the second round.
Kyrgios was accepted into the Canadian Open as a wildcard, providing the 26-year-old with an opportunity to play some competitive hardcourt tennis ahead of the US Open.
But this defeat extends a worrying streak of losses for the Canberra athlete, who was also knocked out of the Washington Open in the first round last week.
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Tuesday’s match was marred by a controversial moment in the second-set tie-break when Kyrgios claimed that Opelka’s foot had touched the net during a point when scores were tied at 4-4.
“What are you watching? I saw his foot touch the net and you’re not going to call it,” Kyrgios yelled at the chair umpire.
“What else could you be watching, bro? I can see his foot touch the net from where I am, and you don’t call anything. It’s a joke, bro. It cost me the f***ing set. Bulls***.”
The Toronto crowd jeered as Kyrgios argued with the official before losing his temper and smashing a tennis ball into the stands.
Opelka went on to win the tie-break 7-4 to set up a decisive third set.
Speaking in a spot-match press conference after his loss to America’s Mackenzie McDonald, Kyrgios made a heartbreaking confession about his dwindling competitive edge.
“I’m not feeling the severity of certain points, and I don’t feel the pressure as much as obviously playing week in, week out,” said Kyrgios.
“You feel when you kind of have to press, when you kind of have to relax, when you kind of coast, when you kind of push.
“I don’t really feel like my body and my mind quite understand the severity of some points here or there because I haven’t played that much.
“Look, I’m disappointed. I’m disappointed.