French Open: Nick Kyrgios destroys racquet after second-round exit

Nick Kyrgios smashed his racquet in frustration on Thursday at the French Open. (AP Images)

Emotions flooded Australian tennis star Nick Kyrgios as he headed off the court following a four-set loss to South Africa’s Kevin Anderson in the second round of the French Open on Thursday.

Kyrgios, who has a history of dramatic outbursts in tournaments, walked to the bench after his loss and repeatedly bashed his racquet against a cooler until it snapped into pieces. The action served as a form of catharsis for Kyrgios, he said, and while he blamed his actions on frustration, he also recognized that his move did not set a great example for younger tennis fans.

“I don’t know if that’s the best role model you want,” Kyrgios said, according to The Daily Mail.

Like Steve Johnson Jr., however, Kyrgios’ focus heading into the French Open wasn’t fully on tennis. Kyrgios’ grandfather, Christos Kyrgios, passed away in April, prompting the Aussie to withdraw from the Millennium Estoril Open.

“My family is very important to me and I feel I need to be around my loved ones at this time as well as pay respects to my Papou, who I loved very much,” Kyrgios posted on Twitter after his grandfather’s death.

Kyrgios stated that the family’s loss, combined with a lack of training particularly on clay courts, led to his early loss in the French Open.

“After my grandpa passing, I just lost a lot of motivation to do anything, really,” Kyrgios said. “I haven’t really put together any good training in the last couple weeks.”

Despite the loss, Kyrgios will remain in France to compete in the doubles tournament. He and his partner Jordan Thompson are on track for a successful run, earning a win against No. 2 seeds Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert.

Mats Wilander, a former No. 1 tennis star, noted Kyrgios commitment to the game and said that his decision to continue to compete in doubles shows that he remains focused on finding success.

“He obviously loves the team environment. And I mean, whatever crazy things he may or may not have done, you go into the locker room and all the players like him. He’s a popular guy.” Wilander said. “And so playing doubles is going to be good for him.”