Controversial world No14 Nick Kyrgios faces a possible fine of $10,000 (£8,200) after appearing to stop trying during his match at the Shanghai Masters on Wednesday.
The Australian was booed by spectators following his 6-3, 6-1 second-round defeat to German Mischa Zverev, in which he seemingly handed his lower-ranked opponent the win with deliberately weak serves and by abandoning points by walking off court.
“Tanking” – letting an opponent win – carries a fine of $10,000 under the code of conduct of the ATP Tour, the men’s elite circuit.
Kyrgios, who was also accused of tanking at Wimbledon last year, conceded that he “took the easy way out” against world No110 Zverev but issued an angry response to his critics.
“If they [spectators] knew what they were talking about they would be on the tennis court being successful,” said the 21-year-old.
“They don’t know what I’m going through. I don’t owe them anything. It’s my choice. If you don’t like it, I didn’t ask you to come and watch – just leave. If you’re so good at giving advice and so good at tennis, why aren’t you as good as me? Why aren’t you on the tour?”
Kyrgios later apologised on social media, writing on Twitter that he had been “not good enough today on many levels”.
Not good enough today on many levels, I'm better than that. I can go on about excuses but there are none. Sorry #StillAWorkInProgress 🙏🏽😢😞— Nicholas Kyrgios (@NickKyrgios) October 12, 2016
The temperamental star was fined more than £6,000 for his conduct at Wimbledon in 2015, which included flinging his racquet into the crowd in a defeat to Richard Gasquet and unsportsmanlike behaviour in a win over Milos Raonic, but escaped punishment for tanking against Gasquet. He was also fined for swearing this summer at the same grand slam.
Perhaps his most notorious incident came in August 2015, when he incurred a $10,000 penalty for making lewd remarks to world No3 Stan Wawrinka during a Rogers Cup match.