Nick Kyrgios says he was a "d***head" when he took his anger out on the family and friends in his player's box during his stunning third set meltdown against Gilles Simon.

Kyrgios shot himself in the foot with another trademark mental explosion, but showed undeniable fight and resilience to dig himself out of trouble in the 6-2 6-4 4-6 7-5 battle on Melbourne Arena on Thursday night.

The 24-year-old was up 4-2 and 15-40, theoretically five points away from the match, when the old, bad, never-far-from-the-surface-Kyrgios calmly walked free from his cage and began to immediately wreak havoc.

The results, as always, were chaos and drama of the most nail-biting, infuriating and absorbing variety.

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Kyrgios chose to deal with the pressure and emotion by unleashing a series of foul-mouthed tirades towards the people in his player's box, which included Aussie Davis Cup captain Lleyton Hewitt.

However, after pulling himself out of free-fall in the fourth set, Kyrgios admitted his behaviour was unacceptable.

When asked if he needs to have a word with his supporters about the negative impact they can have on his on-court performance, Kyrgios took responsibility and admitted the meltdown had nothing to do with the friends and family inside Melbourne Arena.

"No, it's not acceptable from me. Nothing to do with them." Kyrgios said.

"I was being a bit of a d***head to them and I apologised as soon as I went back into the locker room because they don't deserve that.

"It's not acceptable from me.

"I lost my way a little bit in the third set. I put myhead down, I told myself, 'Just cut the bulls*** and just get to work'."

It came after Aussie tennis great Todd Woodbridge declared Kyrgios' attempt to release his tension by attacking his own player's box cost him the third set.

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"At the end of the third set that was where he was directing all the energy," Woodbridge told Channel 9 of Kyrgios' tirades.

"They weren't saying the right thing, they weren't standing, they weren't sitting. It's a distraction that Nick shouldn't actually have. It's not their fault. They are only trying to support. He uses it. Is he the only player who goes like that?

"It's draining for everybody. And it can cost him and it's cost him that third set."

Serving at 3-4 in the fourth set, Kyrgios roared that his player's box was "p***ing" him off.

"Sit down. I don't care anymore. Sit down. You're an hour too late," he barked.

He earlier demanded they get more energetic with their support.

"Say something," he demanded.

"F*** me. F*** me. Say something," he said.

"Maybe something different.

"Out of all the things you could say, 'Stay tough.' Thanks, man. Thanks. That's what I get on every break point. Wow. Wow. Wow. 'Stay tough'. Yep. That's good, that's good. S***. S***."

Kyrgios admitted in the press conference that he doesn't want to continue to take out his frustrations on his players box and will work to stop it from happening again.

"I just want to keep getting better, day by day," he said.

"The way I behaved towards my box was unacceptable. In my next match I do not want to do that."

He joins fellow Aussies John Millman and Alexis Popyrin in the last 32 of the men's draw and will now face either 16th-seeded Russian Karen Khachanov or Sweden's Mikael Ymer.

He will walk out onto court for that match as the new No. 1 ranked Australian after his third round appearance took him above No. 23 Alex de Minaur in the preliminary ATP Rankings.