Nick Kyrgios admits he’s copped what he deserved for his infamous sledging of French Open champion Stan Wawrinka.
Kyrgios will be walking a fine line for the next six months after the ATP slapped a 28-day suspended ban on the young tennis hot-head.
But in his first interview since also being slugged last week with a suspended fine of $US25,000 ($A34,900) for “aggravated behaviour”, a more contrite Kyrgios conceded he needed sanctioning.
“I think it’s fair. I deserved to be punished to some extent and obviously I’m still young,” Kyrgios said ahead of his blockbuster first-round US Open showdown with Andy Murray on Tuesday.
“They’ve given me the impression that they are going to start locking down on that sort of stuff so I’ve definitely learnt my lesson.”
Both sanctions will be waived if Kyrgios avoids any fines for verbal or physical abuse or doesn’t accumulate fines totalling more than $US5000 at ATP events before February 24.
“So I obviously know I’ve got to keep everything in order and obviously be on my best behaviour out there,” said Australia’s two-time grand slam quarter-finalist.
“But at the same time I’m not going to go out there and not show any emotions at all. I think I’m going to go out there and just back myself.
“It’s going to be fine if I have a lot of positive energy going out there.”
Kyrgios had previously insisted that telling Wawrinka that “(Thanasi) Kokkinakis banged your girlfriend” had been a throwaway line said in the heat of the moment during their tense match in Montreal.
“I originally didn’t think it would get picked up like that. But it happened and I guess I just learn from it,” he said.
“I obviously wouldn’t do it again, but I wouldn’t say I was embarrassed by it at all.”
The girl at the centre of the insensitive slur, rising Croatian star Donna Vekic, reportedly said it was “ridiculous” that Kyrgios hadn’t been suspended and Kyrgios has copped widespread flak for not personally apologising to her and Wawrinka.
“I apologised to Stan privately and publicly. I apologised to Donna, not in person, but obviously through contacts,” he said.
“Whether he accepted it or not, it’s not my problem.”
Superstars Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and world No.1 Novak Djokovic have all condemned Kyrgios for the sledge, with Nadal on Saturday even moving to deny reports that he refused to partner the Australian in doubles at John McEnroe’s charity event last week.
Kyrgios, though, doesn’t believe he’s lost the locker room.
“I feel as if the guys I’ve been good friends with, I’m still good friends with,” he said.
“They’ve been supportive as well. I wouldn’t say I was good friends with most of the guys before the incident, so I don’t think much has changed.
“Obviously me and Thanasi, nothing’s changed there. Jack Sock, I’m hanging with him as much as I can.
“There’s a lot of guys in the locker room that are very supportive.”
Kyrgios is playing doubles with Kokkinakis in New York and has also leant heavily on Davis Cup teammate Lleyton Hewitt after spending several days training with Lleyton Hewitt at the former world No.1’s Bahamas base last week.
“That’s been massive, to have his support on the court and off the court,” he said.
“Whenever I’ve needed to talk to him, he’s been there. He’s taken time out for me, to spend time with myself and help Thanasi when he can as well, so I feel he’s been a massive influence.”