Nick Kyrgios has been handed an eight-week suspension and a fine of $25,000 (£20,522) by the ATP for his behaviour in last week's Shanghai Masters. The controversial Australian star was accused of deliberately under-performing as he tamely conceded the match to qualifier Mischa Zverev.
Kyrgios, 21, was trailing 3-1 in the first set when he deliberately hit a lacklustre serve and returned to his chair before the ball had even been returned over the net. Subsequently, Kyrgios was heard to say to the chair umpire: "Can you call time so I can finish this match and go home?"
An ATP investigation concluded that Krygios' behaviour had been "contrary to the integrity of the game". Kyrgios, meanwhile, has revealed he intends to use the time away from the spotlight to "improve on and off the court".
"I would like to take this opportunity to apologise again for the circumstances in Shanghai. The season has been a long one as I battled several injuries and other challenges towards the end of the summer," he said in a statement.
"The Asian circuit was particularly tough after the long week and win in Tokyo and with the travel throughout the continent, my body finally just gave out in Shanghai both physically and mentally. This is no excuse, and I know very well that I need to apologise to the fans – in Shanghai and in other parts of the world – as well as the tournament organisers in Shanghai who do an amazing job."
Kyrgios – who had already been fined $16,500 for breaches of the ATP Code of Conduct in Shanghai – could have his ban reduced to three weeks if he agrees to "enter a plan of care under the direction of a sports psychologist or an equivalent plan approved by ATP". Provided he adheres to the plan, Kyrgios would be eligible to play again from 7 November. If he does not, however, Kyrgios would miss the start of the new tennis season and would only be eligible to return for the first day of the Australian Open in Melbourne.
Last year, Kyrgios enraged fans at Wimbledon when he appeared to deliberately play below his potential in his fourth-round loss to Richard Gasquet. He was booed by the crowd at SW19 for his perceived lack of effort, but Kyrgios later insisted he had given his all.
And in August 2015, Kyrgios was slapped with a suspended $10,000 fine with the threat of another $25,000 payment plus a 28-day ban after he linked fellow Australian pro Thanasi Kokkinakis to Stan Wawrinka's girlfriend during a match at the Montreal Masters. Wawrinka later confronted Kyrgios in the locker room and urged the ATP to take action.
The punishments were all suspended for six months, with Kyrgios warned by the ATP that he would face the sanction if he was fined for verbal or physical abuse, or if he was slapped with more than $5,000 in fines for any other reason.