The malicious exchanges of Nick Kyrgios with some sections of the Wimbledon crowd and his combative press conference afterwards led to increasingly harsh criticism.
The 27-year-old managed to beat first-round challenger Paul Jubb in five sets on Tuesday, but not without controversy – as seems de rigueur for Kyrgios.
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The temperamental Australian was again hampered by what he said was a ‘disrespect’ from parts of the crowd, his frustrations culminating in a nasty moment when he spat on the ground in front of the stands where the fan in question was seated.
Kyrgios also got into a slang match over calls from a certain linesman, whom he called a ‘snitch’ and demanded to be kicked off the court in the middle of the game.
This was followed by a heated press conference, during which he went face to face with tennis journalist Caroline Whittaker on his comments about the linesman.
Whittaker later said the highlights Kyrgios brought to the sport were undermined by his rude attitude off the pitch – but Australian commentator Erin Molan was much tougher during an appearance on Piers Morgan uncensored.
Molan called Kyrgios “an absolute tool”, saying many in Australia felt the same way after Morgan described him as a “monster from the antipodes”.
“Piers, there are a lot of Aussies who also think he’s an absolute tool,” Molan said.
“I was one of his most vocal critics for a very long time.
“But I’ll tell you what, even spitting at someone in their direction is appalling.”
“Anyone’s abuse in their workplace is appalling, the hypocrisy they show is utterly appalling.”
Molan credited Kyrgios for his entertaining doubles victory alongside Thanasi Kokkinakis at the Australian Open, but remarked that although he drew a large crowd, his performances were like watching a “car crash”.
Nick Kyrgios filthy on crowd behavior at Wimbledon
Kyrgios did not apologize when asked to confirm whether he deliberately spat in the heckler’s direction after the match in an incident which shocked spectators at the All England Club.
“From one of the people who disrespect me, yes,” Kyrgios said after his 3-6 6-1 7-5 6-7 (3-7) 7-5 win on Court 3.
“I wouldn’t do that to someone who supported me.
“Look, I’m ok with getting a lot of it. But what I don’t understand is that as soon as I give it back, for example in Stuttgart, I gave it back, I got a game penalty .
“Today, as soon as I won the game, I turned to him…I’ve been dealing with hate and negativity for a long time, so I don’t feel like I owe anything. or to that person.
“Like, he literally came to the game to literally, like, not even really support anybody. It was more just to, like, stir and disrespect.
“That’s fine. But if I give it back to you, then that’s it.”
Kyrgios spent much of the three hour and five minute encounter complaining to the chair umpire from sections of the crowd and also took aim at several officials on the pitch.
The most polarizing figure in Australian sport has said he has no regrets about calling a linesman a ‘golden snitch’.
“No, why? That’s what she did,” Kyrgios said.
“I didn’t do anything and she went to the referee and said something to him that I didn’t say. That’s called whistleblowing.”
The 27-year-old told another linesman to ‘get off the court’ after successfully challenging her incorrect call, then claimed she was ‘the worst I’ve ever seen’.
With the AAP
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