Nick Kyrgios granted time to change out of too-short shorts

ByMatt Wilansky ESPN logo
Wednesday, January 20, 2016

MELBOURNE -- Nick Kyrgios found himself entangled in another controversy Wednesday at the Australian Open.

But this time it had nothing to do with his opponent or poor play. Rather, it was a wardrobe malfunction.

Kyrgios, a 6-4, 7-5, 7-6 (2) winner against clay-court specialist Pablo Cuevas, was visibly irritated at himself for wearing shorts that weren't long enough.

For a set and a half, the 20-year-old Aussie barked at his camp to get him a longer pair.

Finally, the chair umpire afforded a bathroom break to Kyrgios, and he came back sporting a longer black pair. After Cuevas' protest to chair umpire Carlos Ramos was denied, order was restored.

"Just a bit of a mix-up before the game," Kyrgios said of his clothing faux pas. "I guess it will be fixed by the next round."

Did it impact his game?

"Yeah, it's probably not the best thing playing angry," he said. "It does expend a lot of energy. In best-of-five tennis, you want to try to not use that much. You want to keep it all in the tank if you get that far."

The shorts saga aside, Kyrgios cruised through the first two sets before a brief hiccup in the third.

Seeded No. 30, Kyrgios got a nice boost from the enthusiastic crowd at Hisense Arena during some tense moments down the stretch.

Up 2-1 lead in the final frame, Kyrgios called for the trainer to look at a strained triceps muscle in his right arm. When he returned to the court, Kyrgios won a game at love but slowly began to unravel.

He was broken at 4-3, and on the next changeover admonished himself for losing focus. The set ultimately went to a tiebreaker, which Kyrgios won with a blistering backhand cross-court winner on match point.

"Yeah, today was tough," Kyrgios said afterward. "I knew it was going to be tough going into that. He's a great athlete, makes a lot of balls. I thought the first set was really key, had to get the first set. I thought he was pretty high level.

"We both played well from the back. I didn't really think he could serve at that high level. And he was really impressive, I mean, in that category today. He served really well."

Last season, the Aussie made the quarterfinals here before running into Andy Murray. But his auspicious start dissolved as the year wore on, notably after some mean-spirited words with Stan Wawrinka at the Rogers Cup.

While he hasn't addressed those incidents at this event, Kyrgios -- the clothing incident aside -- has made a strident effort to rehabilitate his image.

In a recent practice session, he playfully pulled a child out of the stands to hit a few tennis balls. And in his news conferences, Kyrgios has maintained the importance of keeping his composure.

Next up for Kyrgios is No. 6 seed Tomas Berdych, who also won in straight sets Wednesday.

"He's one of the best players in the world," Kyrgios said of Berdych. "Yeah, I've played him a couple times. He's going to be wanting to win as much as I'm going to be wanting to win, so it's going to be tough."