Australia’s Nick Kyrgios was at the center of controversy at Wimbledon on Tuesday after he spat in the direction of a fan who he said had verbally abused him during their first-round match.
Kyrgios, 27, who defeated Paul Jubb of Great Britain 3-6 6-1 7-5 6-7(3) 7-5 to advance to the second round, turned to the fan after his win to spit in his direction.
“Today when I had won the match, I reached out to him… I’ve dealt with hate and negativity for a long time, so I don’t feel like I owe that person anything,” said Kyrgios, who said he did asked to remove the fan.
“He literally came to the match literally not even really supporting anyone. It was more just to upset and be disrespectful. That’s fine. But if I give it back to you, then so be it.”
Kyrgios, who was in almost constant conversation with referee Marija Cicac throughout the game, blamed social media for the behavior of some fans.
“I love this tournament, it has nothing to do with Wimbledon,” Kyrgios said of the incident. “I just think a whole generation of people on social media feel like they have the right to comment negatively on every single thing. That just carries over to real life.
“Because there’s a fence there — and I can’t physically do anything or say anything because I’ll get in trouble — they just feel the need to just say whatever they want.”
Kyrgios was cautioned for once hitting a ball out of the stadium and also called a lineswoman a ‘snitch’ when she went to the referee, apparently because of something he said at the back of the pitch.
“I didn’t do anything and she went to the referee and told her something I didn’t say,” Kyrgios said. “She thought it was important to run to the referee at 30 and do it over her. In fact, no one was there to see her today.”
At one point during the game, Kyrgios was heard saying, “I don’t start clapping when they scan s–t in a supermarket, do I?” He defended those comments after the game.
“I’ve never just walked up to someone else’s job and just spat at them openly, treated them with disrespect,” Kyrgios said. “I don’t understand why people do this to athletes. Why do they feel the need for that to be acceptable?
“It’s happening more and more in sport. Spectators are just, I don’t know, so disrespectful to the athletes. I don’t think it’s ok. Like, have you ever walked into a supermarket and just started yelling at someone to scan groceries? no Why are they doing this when I’m at Wimbledon? Why is that?”
https://www.espn.com/tennis/story/_/id/34162153/nick-kyrgios-spits-direction-fan-allegedy-was-verbally-abusive-wimbledon-match Nick Kyrgios spits in direction of fan who allegedy was verbally abusive during Wimbledon match