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Learn how the ATP sanctions unsportsmanlike conduct in tennis - the case of Nick Kyrgios

Friday, 30 October 2015 By Jaimy Vanenburg

The Association of Tennis Professionals (“ATP”) is the governing body of the men's professional tennis circuits - the ATP World Tour, the ATP Challenger Tour and the ATP Champions Tour.1 Before a player participates in an ATP sanctioned tournament, he signs a document entitled “Player’s Consent and Agreement to ATP Official Rules Book”, pursuant to which he agrees to be bound by and to comply with the ATP Official Rulebook.2

This article looks at how the ATP Rulebook applies to the actions of Australian tennis player, Nick Kyrgios, who directed abusive comments toward his opponent, Stan Wawrinka, during a Rogers Cup match on 14 August 2015.



The main draw of the Rogers Cup tournament took place from 10 to 16 August 2015. In the second round, Kyrgios played against Wawrinka, who was number 5 in the ATP rankings.

Wawrinka won the first set with 7-6 and the second set had just started. In between two points in the first game of the second set, Kyrgios said to Wawrinka that his fellow Australian player, Thanasi Kokkinakis, had slept with Donna Vekic, who is reportedly now Wawrinka’s girlfriend.3 The microphones recorded, more specifically, that Kyrgios said: “Kokkinakis banged your girlfriend. Sorry to tell you that, mate.” After this comment, Kyrgios mentioned was then heard saying to himself, “He’s banging an 18-year-old” (referring to Donna Vekic).4

After the match, there was a reported “locker room bust-up5 between the two players over the incident, and Wawrinka stated on Twitter

Disappointing to see a fellow athlete and colleague be so disrespectful in a way I could never even imagine. What was said I wouldn't say to my worst enemy. To stop so low is not only unacceptable but also beyond belief… There is no need for this kind of behavior on or off the court and I hope the governing body of this sport does not stand... for this and stands up for the integrity of this sport that we have worked so hard to build.6

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Jaimy Vanenburg

Jaimy Vanenburg

Jaimy has a Masters’ degree in Dutch Civil law (University of Utrecht) and is currently a student Master in International Sports Law (ISDE Madrid). She has experience in sports law as an intern at Coelho Ribeiro e Associados in Lisbon, and is currently working there for CAS arbitrator Rui Botica Santos.

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