Sport Ball kid interaction at Australian Open in the spotlight after Nick Kyrgios time violation

06:50  26 january  2020
06:50  26 january  2020 Source:   abc.net.au

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The Nick Kyrgios experience was on full display Saturday in his third round match against Karen Khachanov at the Australian Open . In the post-match press conference Kyrgios said the following on the violation : " I 'm not really too sure why I got a time violation . I just made sure the ball kid

Nick Kyrgios's decision to not ask a ball kid to take his bloodied towel in last night's epic five set victory has again cast the spotlight on the role of on-court helpers during the Australian Open.

Tennis - Australian Open - Third Round - Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia - January 25, 2020. Australia's Nick Kyrgios reacts during his match against Russia's Karen Khachanov. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji © Reuters Tennis - Australian Open - Third Round - Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia - January 25, 2020. Australia's Nick Kyrgios reacts during his match against Russia's Karen Khachanov. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

In the third round clash between Kyrgios and Karen Khachanov, Kyrgios opted not to make the ball boy touch a towel that had his blood all over it, instead walking it all the way to the back of the court himself.

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He receieved a time violation after he wouldn't let the ball kid touch his towel because he was bleeding, then yelled at the umpire: "Are you stupid? Kyrgios will now take on Rafael Nadal at in the fourth round of the tournament at the Rod Laver Arena on Monday, having already faced the Grand

"There's blood all over the towel so I told the ball kid not to touch it. Why do I get a time violation for it?" Kyrgios brandished the towel at the umpire to prove his injury Kyrgios progressed to the last 16 of the Australian Open with a thrilling victory over Khachanov, who saved match point in the fourth

However, due to the extra time that action entailed, Kyrgios was handed a time violation by umpire Renaud Lichentestein, prompting a furious outburst from the Australian.

"My hand is bleeding!" Kyrgios said.

"What do you want me to do?

"There is blood all over the towel, I told the ball kid not to touch it, that's all I said."

"Come to me," the chair umpire could be heard saying, although Kyrgios clearly did not think that was a reasonable suggestion.

"Why, are you stupid? Can't you see?" he said, holding up his bloodied hand.

He was then passed the towel by the ball kid, saying "is that good enough for you?" holding up the offending towel.

"My hand was actually squirting blood," Kyrgios said in the press conference after the match.

"I just made sure the ball kid wasn't touching my towel with blood on it."

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That all seems quite reasonable, yet ball kids are regularly expected to handle player towels, saturated to various degrees, with their sweat.

'Not my slave'

Despite ball kids being a ubiquitous presence at tennis tournaments around the world, the remit of their obligation to help the players is unclear.

The tipping point appeared to be reached during the qualifying tournament for this year's Open.

There, French player Elliot Benchetrit had his request for a ball girl to peel a banana for him refused.

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Speaking to CNN, Benchetrit said the umpire, John Blom, told him the ball girl was not his slave and that he should do it himself.

"I asked the ball girl to peel the banana for me as I had put some cream on my hands in order not to sweat," he said.

"She had done it once before at the beginning of the match. But the second time the chair umpire stepped in and told me that the ball girl was not my slave and I had to peel the banana myself."

The Australian Open website states that 360 ball kids, aged between 12 and 15, will be used in the tournament this year, selected from more than 2,500 applicants.

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Nick Kyrgios received a warning for ball abuse, was docked Kyrgios was in the third and deciding set against Casper Ruud when he became rattled by spectators moving in the stands, particularly during his service motion. It was his third code violation of the match, meaning he forfeited a game.

Nick Kyrgios mimicking Rafael Nadal’s service routine after the Aussie was given a time violation warning.The two could meet in #AusOpen 4th Characteristically expressive in a pink baseball cap, the 33-year-old explained: “ In the future, if I win 21 Grand Slams, for example, I am not going to be

The website adds: "Ball kids play an integral role in ensuring that tennis tournaments run smoothly."

"Throughout the Australian Open series, each ball kid is a focal part of every game, be it at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne or at the ATP Cup or at the Hobart International."

'Assist, but do not disturb the players'

Official grand slam rules do not actually have much to say about ball kids, other than they should "assist" the players under the direction of the chair umpire.

The only elaboration on that point is that the ball persons are told to "not disturb the players".

This generally covers the eponymous gathering and distribution of loose tennis balls, but clearly veers into various other areas as well, such as looking after the players' towels, getting their drinks, drying the court after rain and removing visiting wildlife.

Dealing with wildlife is arguably not even the most hazardous aspect to a ball kid's role on court.

Rafael Nadal slammed a wayward shot right into the head of a ball girl in his match with Federico Debonis. She was OK and able to continue with her duties.

The International Tennis Federation (ITF) rules state that ball kids should be regarded as "permanent fixtures" of the court, meaning that if the ball hits them on the full after it is played, the ball is considered out (as per rule 13).

Ball kids often find themselves in the firing line.

Tim Henman was disqualified from Wimbledon in 1995 after he lashed out after missing a shot and accidentally smashed a ball into the side of a ball girl's head at point-blank range.

At last year's Queens tournament ahead of Wimbledon, Nicholas Mahut accounted for two ball kids in as many days, smashing a warm-up serve into the face of one girl, a day after slipping and taking out a different girl.

  • Topics:
  • Tennis
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  • Australian Open
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  • Nick Kyrgios
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  • Ash Barty
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  • Serena Williams
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  • Naomi Osaka
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  • Rafa Nadal
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  • Andy Murray
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  • Roger Federer
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  • Novak Djokovic
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  • Alex de Minaur

Nick Kyrgios beats Karen Khachanov in Australian Open five-set thriller in Melbourne .
Nick Kyrgios survives a gruelling five-set match against Russian Karen Khachanov at the Australian Open to move through to a blockbuster clash with world number one Rafael Nadal in the round of 16. © Getty MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 25: Nick Kyrgios of Australia plays a backhand during his Men's Singles third round match against Karen Khachanov of Russia on day six of the 2020 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 25, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia.

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