Umpire who gave Nick Kyrgios pep talk suspended

Rex Christensen
September 20, 2018

The ATP Tour has suspended chair umpire Mohamed Lahyani for giving Nick Kyrgios a pep talk at the U.S. Open, according to The New York Times.

It was the first of two major incidents involving umpires at the US Open, with Serena Williams handed a game penalty after a tirade against match official Carlos Ramos in the women's final.

Lahyani, who was next scheduled to work at the China Open and Shanghai Masters, will return to the umpire's chair during the October 15-21 Stockholm Open.

The other controversial US Open chair umpire has been punished.

"Lahyani's actions in the match were deemed to have compromised the impartiality that is required of an official", the men's governing body said in a statement.

Down a set and a break, Kyrgios received some words of encouragement from the Swedish umpire as he stared down the barrel of another shock grand slam exit in NY.

The Australian rallied and overcame Herbert 4-6, 7-6, 6-3, 6-0 but the Frenchman was highly critical of Lahyani's actions.

Lahyani left his chair and begged Kyrgios to start trying for the sake of the paying crowd and avoid being sanctioned again for another meltdown.

Kyrgios appeared to tell the umpire, "I'm not feeling it", to which Lahyani replied: "I can see that, this is not you ..." "This isn't you. I know that".

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Herbert said after the match that he believed Lahyani had overstepped the mark.

"I think this was not his job", Herbert said.

The next day, USTA spokesman Chris Widmaier said Lahyani had gone "beyond our protocol", but would be allowed to continue to work matches during the U.S. Open because of his "exemplary track record as an worldwide tennis official".

"It's not the umpire's role to go down from the chair".

The umpire's actions were criticised by Roger Federer and a number of current and former players on social media including Australia's Pat Cash, although other including John McEnroe and Novak Djokovic supported him claiming he was "different" and brings 'positive energy'.

Lahyani did not work any high-profile singles matches for the remainder of the tournament.

"Although well-intended, his actions were regrettable and can not go without disciplinary action on our own tour", said Bradshaw.

The Swede will be free to return to work at the Stockholm Open on 15 October.

"We know that he will learn from this experience and we look forward to welcoming him back in October".

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