Tennis star Nick Kyrgios has apologized after a racket he threw in a fit of rage following a loss almost hit a nearby ball boy. The outburst occurred following a loss to Rafael Nadal at Indian Wells that encapsulated Kyrgios’ brilliance and volatility alike.
In the first set, Kyrgios received a warning for smashing a racket and then lost the set after being penalized for swearing at a spectator. He recovered to win the second set before ultimately falling to Nadal 7-6 (0) 5-7 6-4.
After the match, Kyrgios hurled his racket in frustration, causing a ball boy standing at the back of the court to scramble to avoid being hit. Kyrgios apologized on social media, sharing screenshots of a text exchange with the ball boy where he promised to give him a racket for his trouble.
Kyrgios made amends for his outburst after initially taking umbrage when asked about it in a post-match press conference, where he defended himself and claimed he had not meant for the ball boy to end up in harm’s way.
“Did I throw the racket anywhere near him originally? It landed a meter from my foot and skidded and nearly hit him,” Kyrgios said, per Eleanor Crooks of PA Media. “I’m human. Things happen like that. Obviously it was a very misfortunate bounce. I think if I did that a million times over it wouldn’t have gone that way.”
Kyrgios’ fit of rage continues a recent pattern in tennis. Not long ago, Alexander Zverev was disqualified from the Mexican Open and later received a suspended ban for smashing his racket against the umpire’s chair. As one of tennis’ most prominent players, Nadal has advocated for stricter sanctions for behavioral issues — but not in Kyrgios’ case in particular.
“I think Nick had a great attitude during the whole match in terms of fighting spirit and of course he has his personality, his character,” Nadal said. “Sometimes he does things that I personally don’t like, but I respect because of different character, different points of view, and a different kind of education.”
Nadal’s victory against Kyrgios moved him on to the semifinal at Indian Wells, where he will face 18-year-old Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz.