Nick Kyrgios is facing a five-figure fine and a potential tennis ban after a vicious attack on the chair umpire during his last-16 loss to Italy’s Jannik Sinner at the Miami Open.

The meltdown marked the second-straight tournament the 26-year-old has exited a tournament amid furious scenes, following his explosive loss to Rafael Nadal at Indian Wells in which he was fined $33,000 for nearly hitting a ball boy with a smashed racquet.

You can watch Kyrgios’ heated argument with the chair umpire in the video above

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There were early signs that Kyrgios’ frustration would boil over on Wednesday morning (AEDT), as he complained about the state of the court almost as soon as he set foot on it.

The Australian’s attention soon turned to the crowd, who he labelled: “the worst, everyone’s just the worst.”

But it was a bizarre moment involving the chair umpire that really pushed Kyrgios over the edge amid his straight-sets loss to 20-year-old Sinner.

With scores locked at 4-4 in the opening set, the walkie talkie of Brazilian umpire Carlos Bernardes went off loudly, sparking a heated personal attack from Kyrgios.

Nick Kyrgios of Australia argues with ATP chair umpire Carlos Bernardes of Brazil during the first set in his match against Jannik Sinner.
Nick Kyrgios of Australia argues with ATP chair umpire Carlos Bernardes of Brazil during the first set in his match against Jannik Sinner. Credit: Michael Reaves/Getty Images

“He should be fired on the spot,” Kyrgios said.

“How is that possible? A fourth round of Miami, one of the biggest tournaments and you guys just can’t do your job.

“It’s embarrassing. Get a new set of referees, these guys don’t know how to do s***. Walky-talkies going off.

“It’s a joke. He is a joke. Get rid of every single staff and start over. Everything. I will run the sport.

“I could do 100 times a better job. Marketing. Everything. You guys have no idea. None. You guys can’t even ref right.”

A spectator runs on court and takes a selfie with Nick Kyrgios of Australia.
A spectator runs on court and takes a selfie with Nick Kyrgios of Australia. Credit: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

That was only the start of his battle with Bernardes, an umpire he has had run-ins with in the past.

While Kyrgios was being outplayed in the opening set tiebreak, the world No. 102 blasted Bernardes for failing to control the wild crowd in Miami.

“You have absolutely no idea how to control this crowd, pretty sad,” Kyrgios said.

When Kyrgios started talking further about him, Bernardes gave him his second code violation, which meant a point penalty for the Australian and put him set point down.

Commentators insisted it was a fair penalty from the umpire, who had already endured a number of negative comments from Kyrgios.

Kyrgios smashes his racquet after a run-in with chair umpire Carlos Bernardes.
Kyrgios smashes his racquet after a run-in with chair umpire Carlos Bernardes. Credit: Getty

At the end of the set, Kyrgios screamed wildly at the umpire, asking how it could have been unsportsmanlike conduct as he claimed he was only talking to a friend in the crowd.

“I didn’t even say anything to you,” Kyrgios said.

“What? What does that mean?

“What’s unsportsmanlike about it? What is unsportsmanlike? But what is unsportsmanlike?

To which Bernardes, by now understandably growing more irritated, said: “You were talking about me.”

Kyrgios then smashed his racquet several times against his bag and on to the hard court, with Bernardes this time awarding a game penalty against him – a decisive moment as the Australian was serving in that opening game of the second stanza and there soon looked no way back from there, eventually losing the match 7-6 (7-3) 6-3.

It marked a dispiriting end to the Australian men’s singles challenge in Miami.

The Aussie took to Twitter later on Wednesday to double down on his tirade against the chair umpire, revealing exactly what was said to prompt his tie break point penalty.

“‘You could do the job of the umpire’ – what was said to my best friend that got me ‘unsportsmanlike code violation’ at 5-3 in the first set tie break,” Kyrgios wrote.

“With 100 of thousands of dollars on the line that was the decision he made because the umpires ‘feelings got hurt. GET NEW PEOPLE.”

Special K’s combine for doubles consolation

Meanwhile, fellow Aussie Thanasi Kokkinakis, who’d had such an excellent tournament, went out 6-4 6-4 to second-seeded Alexander Zverev while suffering what appeared to be an injury to his right shoulder.

Despite their singles’ ills, hours later Kyrgios and Kokkinakis teamed up to steamroll their way into the doubles semi-finals by dispatching third-seeds Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos 7-5 6-2.

The Special K’s — the Australian Open doubles champions — are now 9-1 in 2022.

Kyrgios credits Osaka for clearer focus

Kyrgios’ Miami meltdown came just two days after he credited four-time grand slam champion Naomi Osaka for helping him to deal with his inner demons following his win over Italy’s Fabio Fognini in the third round of the Miami Open.

He identified his improved mindset as the key reason he has been able to remain composed on the court and take his game to another level in recent times after revealing in February he had self-harmed during mental health battles earlier in his career.

“The people around me, I pushed them away and those are the people I needed the most,” Kyrgios told the Tennis Channel.

“My family, I fell out with my family for a while, I’ve got a really good tight-knit group of people around me and I’m not afraid to open up anymore, I think that’s the biggest thing.

“I think males around my age really struggle with coming out (and admitting they need help).

“(They think) it’s a sign of weakness or something if you’re struggling mentally, but I don’t think that’s the case at all.

“I think it’s a sign of strength to be vulnerable and tackle your problems head on.

“It’s all good to be feeling you’re not enough or anything like that and I think that’s the best thing I did, just admit that I was struggling and now I’m playing some great tennis and happy.”

Nick Kyrgios is showing an improved focus on the court.
Nick Kyrgios is showing an improved focus on the court. Credit: Getty

The 26-year-old also revealed that he had found a kindred spirit in Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka, who has blazed a trail on the topic of mental health in sport.

“Naomi kind of pulled the pin at that French Open (in 2021) when she (disclosed she) was dealing with all that negative kind of emotion, and when she just kind of pulled the pin, I related to that,” Kyrgios said.

Osaka withdrew from last year’s French Open after a row with tournament organisers over media duties, explaining that she had been suffering from depression for almost three years.

Naomi Osaka of Japan talks to referee Clare Wood after being heckled by a fan in her second round match.
Naomi Osaka of Japan talks to referee Clare Wood after being heckled by a fan in her second round match. Credit: Robert Prange/Getty Images

Her disclosure inspired a number of top athletes to make public their own struggles.

“I felt like I constantly played so much under that mental stress and negativity that I genuinely just couldn’t function anymore with the pressures. I couldn’t function with the negativity,” Kyrgios told reporters in Miami.

“Every day was just constant negativity from you guys, from eventually my family, eventually from my friends, from everyone.

“There was no positivity, and it was just eating me up and I just genuinely hated my life.

“It’s taken a long time, and obviously I’m just towards a point where I’m just happy now… I had to fix it myself.”

– With AAP