The umpire who gave Nick Kyrgios an impromptu on-court pep-talk during the US Open has been suspended by the ATP after an internal review.
Mohamed Lahyani climbed down from his chair and was heard telling the Australian “I want to help you. You are great for tennis. I know this is not you.” during a changeover as the Australian trailed Pierre-Hugues Herbert by a set and a break in their second-round match.
Following the chat, Kyrgios, 23, enjoyed a change of fortune, and fought back to win the tie in four sets.
The ATP decided to ban Lahyani, 52, for two tournaments, the China Open and Shanghai Masters in October.
A statement from the governing body of men’s tennis read: “Lahyani’s actions in the match were deemed to have compromised the impartiality that is required of an official.”
The Swede will be able to return to officiating at the Stockholm Open, which begins on October 15.
Kyrgios won the second set after a pep talk from the chair umpire Mo Lahyani.
A USTA rep told me it is already looking into Lahyani's conduct in this match.
— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) August 30, 2018
At the time, US Open organisers the USTA said Lahyani had gone “beyond protocol” but allowed him to continue officiating in the tournament while stressing he needed to “adhere to proper protocols”.
The ATP’s executive vice president of rules and competition Gayle David Bradshaw described Lahyani as a “world-class and highly-respected official”, but stressed that “his actions during the match crossed a line that compromised his own impartiality as a chair umpire”.
“Although well-intended, his actions were regrettable and cannot go without disciplinary action on our own tour,” he added.
“We know that he will learn from this experience and we look forward to welcoming him back in October.”