Nick Kyrgios is facing a certain fine from the Grand Slam board after admitting to spitting towards a spectator after his first-round win at Wimbledon on Tuesday.
The Aussie star lived up to his self-styled role as villain on show court No.3 before escaping disaster with a 3-6 6-1 7-5 6-7 (3-7) 7-5 victory over British wildcard Paul Jubb - the World No.219.
Kyrgios fought with the umpire, spectators and a line judge before ultimately winning the battle to scrape through to the second round.
However there were unsavoury scenes following the final point of the match when Kyrgios could be seen spitting in the direction of a spectator.
The Aussie later admitted that he did spit towards the fan when he became fed up with being verbally and racially taunted throughout the match.
Kyrgios made no apologies when asked to confirm if he deliberately spat in the direction of the heckler in an incident that shocked onlookers at the All England Club.
"Of one of the people disrespecting me, yes," Kyrgios said.
"I would not be doing that to someone who was supporting me.
"Look, I'm okay with receiving a lot of it. But what I don't understand is as soon as I give it back, for instance in Stuttgart I gave it back, I got a game penalty.
"Today, as soon as I won the match, I turned to him... I've been dealing with hate and negativity for a long time, so I don't feel like I owed that person anything.
"Like, he literally came to the match to literally just, like, not even support anyone really. It was more just to, like, stir up and disrespect.
"That's fine. But if I give it back to you, then that's just how it is."
While he wasn't accusing anyone of being racist on Tuesday, Kyrgios said he'd been the victim of it far too often during his career.
"A lot of disrespect was being thrown today from the crowds," said the two-time grand slam quarter-finalist.
"I'm just starting to think that it's normal when it's really not.
"I didn't say anything to the crowd until they started just every time I came down to the far end, people just going. It's just I don't know if it's normal or not."
Regardless of his justification, the tennis world was left shocked by Kyrgios' actions, with fans labelling them 'vile' and 'disgusting'.
I never write tweets but after an incredible match and a win what appalling behaviour to spit at the crowd #Kyrgios - such elegant tennis destroyed by pettiness! #pauljubb absolutely smashed it today!!
— Katya Hazel Boirand (@Katyahazel) June 28, 2022
Kyrgios just spat at someone in the crowd before that handshake. Vile
— Jordan Holt (@JordanHolt23) June 28, 2022
Then Kyrgios should be fined heavily, no excuse for such disgusting behaviour.
— Horatius Cocles 🇬🇧🇺🇸🇮🇱 (@SternhammerWulf) June 28, 2022
Saw this as it happened and found it disgusting as I thought it was towards the whole crowd but he’s confessed to the whole thing it should be a ban.
Kyrgios behaves like a muppet himself then plays the victim it’s become distasteful and damaging to the image of tennis now! https://t.co/6Miz9RSCCO
— - (@locofell4) June 28, 2022
There is nothing more disgusting than spitting at someone. First @carra23 now Nik Kyrgios spitting at fans. Funny how @SkyUK were okay about it. We’ mere mortals would get sacked. It’s not acceptable. #Kyrgios #Wimbledon @BBCSport
— Kevin D (@KevinD18002484) June 28, 2022
There’s no denying it....Kyrgios is a real Marmite character.
But THAT is truly disgusting.
He was nowhere near the spectator but that’s not the point.
I’ve never seen it in tennis. https://t.co/xiPwVg3a5L
— 🇺🇦🇺🇦Paul Skillington🇺🇦🇺🇦 (@PaulSkillington) June 28, 2022
@Wimbledon Appalled that no one on the BBC seems to have mentioned that Nick Kyrgios spat towards fans after winning his match today. Disgusting behaviour from a supposed professional sportsman. He should be fined or banned.
— Peter Fry (@PeterFr86810952) June 28, 2022
Nick Kyrgios wins after battle with Wimbledon officials
Kyrgios spent much of the three-hour, five-minute tussle complaining to the chair umpire about sections of the crowd, while also taking aim at several on-court officials.
The 27-year-old said he had no regrets calling one line judge a "snitch".
"No, why? That's what she did," Kyrgios said.
"I didn't do anything and she went to the umpire and told her something that I didn't say. That's called whistleblowing. Factually what happened."
The 27-year-old told another lineswoman to "get off the court" after successfully challenging her incorrect call, then claimed she was "the worst I've ever seen".
However he denied telling another line judge: 'You're in your 90s, you can't see the ball.'
"I said most of the umpires are older, and I just don't think that's ideal when you're playing a sport of such small margins," he said.
"Factually, people that are younger have better eyesight. Do you not think that's appropriate?
"When you're playing at a sport for hundreds and thousands of dollars, do you not think that we should have people that are really ready to call the ball in or out?
"Factually, does someone have better eyesight when they're younger."
For all his rich potential, Kyrgios has yet to make a grand slam semi-final.
His two major quarter-finals came at Wimbledon in 2014 as a teenager and the Australian Open in 2015.
His big chance may arrive over the coming fortnight, with last year's runner-up Matteo Berrettini and former finalist Marin Cilic removed from Kyrgios' depleted bottom side of the draw with Covid-19.
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