Novak Djokovic speaks out on Nick Kyrgios umpire controversy


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Novak Djokovic has defended the actions of umpire Mohamed Lahyani (Picture: Getty)

Novak Djokovic has defended the actions of Mohamed Lahyani after the umpire appeared to give Nick Kyrgios a pep talk during his US Open second round win over Pierre-Hugues Herbert.

Kyrgios seemed destined to be heading for an early exit after he lost the first set and trailed by a break in the second, before Lahyani intervened. A video of the incident revealed Lahyani told Kyrgios I want to help you, I know this is not you.

Herbert heavily criticised the umpire after he ultimately slumped to a 4-6, 7-6, 6-3, 6-0 defeat, but Djokovic insists Lahyani has always had a distinctive style of officiating and believes he was only acting in Kyrgioss best interests.

I heard a little bit about it, but I havent seen it to be honest, said Djokovic, who eased through to the next round following a four-set win over Tennys Sandgren.

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I cant really talk in detail about what happened. Mohamed, whether he came down from the chair or not, he tried to encourage him to play better, to remind him that he has a responsibility towards the fans. Am I correct?

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I understand why people, maybe Herbert, is upset because that has happened. Obviously its understandable. A chair umpire should be neutral.

But everybody who knows Mohamed knows as well hes quite different from the others. Hes always very positive, smiles, tries to bring that energy to the court. He likes to make a show, as well, out of it.

Knowing Mohamed, I really dont think that he meant to do it for any other reason but to really try to help Nick to understand that if he continues doing that, he might get, you know, fined or a penalty or whatever, or a warning.

I havent seen it, as I say. From I what heard, knowing Mohamed, I think he has done it in a friendly way. He didnt want to probably sound like hes threatening Nick.

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Again, I understand as well why people are speculating that it should not happen. But Ill check out the video and Ill see more.

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