Australian tennis player Nick Kyrgios spat in the direction of a fan during his first-round matchup against British tennis player Paul Jubb at Wimbledon.
The enigmatic player claims that the fan he spat at was verbally abusing him during the match.
“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,” Kyrgios said according to Simon Cambers of ESPN. “He literally came to the match to literally just, like, not even support anyone really. It was more just to stir up and disrespect. That’s fine. But if I give it back to you, then that’s just how it is.”
Kyrgios said he also asked for the fan to be removed from the match. During the five-set victory, the 27-year-old received a warning after he hit a ball out of the stadium. He also called one lineswoman a “snitch” after she apparently went to speak with the umpire about something he said.
After the match, Kyrgios addressed the crowd in an on-court interview.
“The crowd was pretty rowdy today,” he said. “A couple of people in the crowd not shy of criticizing me, so that one was for you. You know who you are.”
According to ESPN, Kyrgios was heard saying during the match “I don’t start clapping when they’re scanning s--- at a supermarket, do I?”
“I’ve never, ever just gone to anyone else’s job and just blatantly spat, disrespected them,” Kyrgios said in response to those comments. “I don’t understand why people do that to athletes. Why do they feel the need that that’s acceptable? It’s happening more and more in [sports]. Like, spectators are just, I don’t know, so disrespectful to the athletes. I don’t think it’s OK. Like, have you ever gone into like a supermarket and just started berating someone scanning the groceries? No. So why do they do it when I’m at Wimbledon?”
Kyrgios beat Jubb to advance to the second round after a 3–6, 6–1, 7–5, 6–7 (3–6), 7–5 victory. He is set to play Serbia’s Filip Krajinović in the second round.
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