Nick Kyrgios ended his Wimbledon campaign on a sour note after losing 7-5, 6-1, 6-7(7), 7-6(6) to Richard Gasquet in the last 16 on Monday before facing accusations of tanking in the press conference room later in the day.
After dropping the opening set, Kyrgios double-faulted to get broken in his opening service game of the second set to go down 0-2 and received a code violation warning for audible obscenity.
The following game, a frustrated Kyrgios appeared to have given up as he simply walked from one side of the baseline to the other, allowing Gasquet to hold to love without trying to run to the ball.
Some viewed that as a violation of ITF rules, as Kyrgios appeared to not be giving his best effort but the 20-year-old Aussie was not fined nor was he officially accused of tanking and he clearly fought hard after that set as he almost forced a fifth set against Gasquet.
Kyrgios has been fined a total of $9,500 during his time at Wimbledon this fortnight - $2,000 for audible obscenity in his fourth round with Gasquet, and $7,500 for unsportsmanlike conduct in his third round against Milos Raonic, but nothing regarding tanking.
“Today, there was a lot of ups and downs. Obviously it was a tough, tough time, especially when he's not missing any balls. I'm getting frustrated myself. I feel as if I'm playing not how I should be playing. I'm angry at myself,” explained Kyrgios, who made the Wimbledon quarter-finals last year.
“Obviously I wasn't really happy with the way I was performing out there. I obviously lacked a bit of energy. I thought I responded well, though, to even come back and won the third set.”
Prompted to elaborate on whether he tanked in the second set, Kyrgios added: “I'm not perfect out there. I'm going to have ups and downs. That's the way you respond from that. I think it takes some serious balls to respond the way I did.”
During the match, Kyrgios also randomly hugged a ball kid and later explained: "I just felt like a hug. Everyone now and then wants a hug."
Gasquet admits he had a serious case of déjà vu when Kyrgios saved two match points to take the third set and force a fourth. Last year at Wimbledon in the second round, Kyrgios had saved nine match points to go on and beat Gasquet coming back from two sets down.
Lucky for Gasquet there was no repeat this time around. Kyrgios on the other hand said it was a painful defeat.
“It hurts. You never want to go out of a grand slam. I feel like I definitely could have done better. But saying that, I think Richard's playing some really, really good tennis. So I mean, it's been an emotional couple of weeks as well, so...” said Kyrgios.
Gasquet, who obliterated his racquet after dropping the third and was fined for it, had to save two set points in the fourth to avoid going into another decider against Kyrgios which the Frenchman said would have been a “nightmare”.
Asked if his thoughts went back to 12 months ago when Kyrgios saved the two match points and won the third, Gasquet said smiling: “To be honest, a little bit, yes. Yeah, a little bit, it's true. I throw the racquet. It's true, I broke one.
“Because that one was on my serve. Last year I had nine on his serve. The first one was on my serve. Yeah, he did great shots in this tiebreak. I couldn't finish, 7‑6 for him. Then in the fourth set, he had two set points at 6‑4, and he did mistakes. He serve incredible in this tiebreak again. It could be 7‑6 again, could be a fifth set.
“Yeah, it could be a nightmare for me again. I'm happy to finish in four.”
Gasquet noticed Kyrgios'
level dipped due to frustration in the second set but said it was not a unique situation and that many players can react like that sometimes.
“He was a little bit angry, a little bit frustrated, I saw that. Yeah, but I knew in the third set, it could be a different game,” said Gasquet.
“Sometimes it happens. He's not the only one to did it. Even the best player in the world did it in the past.
“It's true, he give me a little bit this set. But I knew actually it wouldn't be the same in the third and fourth. But he played much better. He's a fighter. After that he fought a lot.”
Gasquet is back in the quarters here for the first time since 2007 and will take on No4 seed and French Open champion Stan Wawrinka for a place in the last four.