TENNIS

Nick Kyrgios admits spitting on heckling fan after Wimbledon match

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Nick Kyrgios has admitted spitting in the direction of a fan he said had “disrespected” him during a first round match at Wimbledon on Tuesday.

“Because there’s a fence there, and I physically can’t do or say anything, because I’m going to get in trouble,” he told reporters, “they just the feeling that they are able to say whatever they want.”

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Speaking after his five-set victory over Britain’s Paul Jubb, Kyrgios claimed that unlike a recent tournament in Germany, the heckling he received on Tuesday was not racist. Nonetheless, he lamented what he described as an increase in rude fan behavior and suggested he was increasingly inclined to react one way or another.

“A lot of disrespect was thrown around today by the crowd,” Kyrgios claimed, “and I’m just starting to think that’s normal, when it really isn’t. … Like, somebody come to shout that I was ‘s—‘ in the crowd today. Is this normal? No. I just don’t understand why this happens over and over again.

“I’ve been dealing with hate and negativity for a long time, so I don’t feel like I owe this person anything,” he added. “He literally came to the game to literally not even support anybody, really. It was more just to stir and disrespect. It is very good. But if I give it back to you, that’s how it is.

Kyrgios could face a fine from Wimbledon officials.

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A 27-year-old Australian ranked 40th in the world after peaking at No.13 in 2016, Kyrgios has long had a reputation as one of the sport’s most volatile and fascinating stars. At times, he displays the talent to beat anyone but also a combustible nature that makes him his own worst enemy.

During a game in Miami this year, Kyrgios scored a point and took a game penalty after delivering a smashing tirade against a chair umpire. After his loss in that game, he took to social media to to declare the referee “clearly IS NOT GOOD ENOUGH to make these matches.” The ATP fined him $35,000.

Kyrgios had another tough time with a match official on Tuesday – in this case, a linesman who called a ball he thought was in it.

Asked for some of the details of his discussion on the pitch following that call, he replied: “I said most of the referees are older, and I just don’t think that’s ideal when you play such a small sport. margins. Because actually, younger people have better eyesight. When you’re playing a sport for hundreds and thousands of dollars, don’t you think we should have people who are really willing to get the ball in and out? »

Of his interactions with some fans during the match, Kyrgios said he “didn’t say anything to the crowd until they started”.

“I just think it’s a whole generation of people on social media, who feel they have a right to comment on everything negatively,” he told reporters. “That continues in real life.”

When asked to confirm that he spat in the direction of someone in the crowd, Kyrgios replied: “From one of the people who disrespects me, yes.”

“I wouldn’t do that to someone who supported me,” he added.

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