"I want to help you" are not normally the words you hear exchanged between an umpire and an athlete.

But it was exactly what Swedish official, Mohamed Lahyani, told Nick Kyrgios during a bizarre US Open mid-match pep talk.

Lahyani, who is already under fire for his unprecedented intervention, left his chair after Kyrgios gave away his second set in a match against Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert to beg the Australian tennis star to start trying.

"I want to help you. I want to help you," Lahyani said.


"I've seen your matches, you're great for tennis."

Nick Kyrgios at the 2018 U.S Open. Photo / Getty
Nick Kyrgios at the 2018 U.S Open. Photo / Getty

Although Kyrgios looked fairly uninterested in the official's efforts at the time, the extraordinary pep talk seemed to do the trick as the Australian hauled himself back into the match to pull off a 4-6 7-5 6-3 6-0 comeback victory.

Asked after the match what Lahyani had said to him, Kyrgios said: "He was just concerned about how I was playing, like, 'Nick are you okay?'"

After the match Kyrgios took to Twitter, calling out female player Donna Vekic after she questioned the sequence of events.

Lahyani's controversial coaching efforts have since been slammed on social media as "inappropriate" and "unfair with former Australian umpire and one-time head of ASADA, Richard Ings, describing the exchange as unheard of.

"I am racking my brain to think of a situation requiring a chair umpire to speak like that to one player. I umpired thousands of matches. I was ATP head of officiating. I can't think of one," Ings tweeted.

The win secured Kyrgios a third-round clash against Roger Federer.