-- NEW YORK -- It took just five points of his opening match for Nick Kyrgios to lose his temper at the US Open.
"You're giving me a code violation for hitting the ball too hard?" he asked the chair umpire on the Old Grandstand, not once or twice but three times at the first change of ends.
"Look at the dimensions of the court," Kyrgios pleaded. "You think I have much space?"?
It was a day of antics at Flushing Meadows for Australia's two biggest and most controversial male tennis stars.
"I think he was just baiting me a bit," Tomic later said in a news conference. "I don't want to get into it. I apologised for what I said to him. I think the crowd got happy he left because he was a bit annoying. But it's OK."
But while Tomic went on to lose his match, Kyrgios appeared to get fired up by his own outburst. He raced into a 4-0 lead before a nagging injury resurfaced and Bedene pegged him back to 5-4.
He slammed his towel down in frustration after calling for the trainer, whom he told the problem was "getting worse and worse" and went off for treatment after wrapping up the first set with an ace.
The injury didn't seem to hamper Kyrgios too much for the rest of the match, and he sealed a 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 win to reach the second round, but his temper resurfaced a few more times.
He ran into a line judge late in the second set and launched another verbal volley in the umpire's direction after losing the point and the game.
"He's standing there, why does he not f---ing move?" Kyrgios said. "He knows I'm running, he just stands there. That's why you can't have guys [aged] 80-plus being umpires."
A couple of overrules from the umpire in the third set also irked Kyrgios. "What are you doing?" he asked on both occasions.
After wrapping up the win, he then said, "You have one job to do, bro. Unbelievable."
Kyrgios was rather more serene at his postmatch news conference, talking about Pokemon Go and haircuts.?
And, unlike Tomic, he seemed to enjoy how close the fans were to the court, even the hecklers.
"I don't really zone it out, to be honest," he said. "Some guy was like, 'Change your clothes, that's an awful outfit.' I was trying to come up with a comeback. I didn't want to say anything. He was an old man. He got me this time."
While Kyrgios is unlikely to change his volatile ways on the court, one thing seems clear: Based on his tennis alone, he is capable of going deep at this tournament.
"My head space last year wasn't the greatest. I was obviously going through a lot of stuff last year through that whole Montreal thing," he said, referring to his infamous sledging of Stanislas Wawrinka, that earned him a fine and a suspended six-month ban.
"I'm seeded 14 here, so I won't meet [Andy] Murray until I'm a hell of a lot further through the draw. I feel comfortable in general on the tennis court. I feel more comfortable in my game against whoever I play. I know what I can do. I have beaten quality players. I'm not afraid of these guys."
Rivals, and line judges, beware.