Nick Kyrgios complained bitterly about the actions of some members of the crowd during his Wimbledon first-round match against Britain's Paul Jubb on Tuesday.
The Australian, who proclaimed himself as one of the best grass-court men's players in the world in the lead-up to the tournament at SW19, struggled badly early on as he lost the opening set to Jubb.
Midway through the fiery match, Kyrgios expressed his displeasure with the conduct of some members of the crowd as he implored the umpire to help deal with the situation.
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“You have to tell them, though," he said at a changeover. "They have to be respectful. They are spectators who pay money to watch us play. They should be removed.
"Like, I don’t go up to them in their nine-to-five or get up in their face when they’re scanning s*** in the supermarket, do I?
"'Oh, booo! Yeah, now everything thinks you’re s***!' Do I say that? They have no right to do that. Why does it keep happening?
"[You] should remove them from the crowd. So spectators who disrespect an athlete is acceptable, but you don't accept a hat with two logos. But pure disrespect [towards] athletes is fine. Where is the line? If that’s acceptable, then racism is acceptable… where does it stop? Where is the line, you know what I mean?
"What is it? I don’t know. It’s been happening for years now. Years. I would say the same thing - if they were clapping between his first and second serves or saying racial slurs, then I would say the same thing.”
It was not the only time Kyrgios lost his temper with the umpire early on as he ranted about fans and officials during the match on Court 3.
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After just 12 minutes, he lost his temper with a line judge following an intervention over a line call. The score was 3-2 to Jubb at the time with the set going on serve.
Kyrgios proceeded to rant at the umpire over the line judge being a "snitch" and made the point abundantly clear that the official in question "had no fans".
“Has one person today come to see her speak?" Kyrgios asked.
"No. I understand, but why is she doing that? Not one person in the stadium has come here to watch her do anything! Not one person.
"Like, you know what I mean? You got fans, but she has got none.
"What did I do? Like, come on. I know, but what? She just selfishly walks to you in the middle of a game because she's a snitch!”
Nick Kyrgios in Wimbledon
Image credit: Getty Images
Stuttgart Open organisers investigated a racism claim made by Kyrgios after his straight sets defeat to Andy Murray in the Wimbledon warm-up event.
After the match the Australian took to Instagram to explain that a racial slur affected his on-court behaviour and that the situation was "messed up".
He wrote: "When is this going to stop? Dealing with racial slurs from the crowd?
"I UNDERSTAND THAT MY BEHAVIOUR ISN'T THE BEST ALL THE TIME - but 'you little BLACK SHEEP', 'shut up and play'... little comments like this are NOT ACCEPTABLE. When I retaliate to the crowd, I get penalised. This is messed up."
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Watch daily highlights from Wimbledon at 10pm on Eurosport 2 and discovery+ from June 27, as well as the two singles finals live on July 9 and 10.
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