Nick Kyrgios won a hard-fought, five-set match in the opening round at Wimbledon on Tuesday.
Afterward, the talk surrounding the Australian wasn’t about his victory over Britain’s Paul Jubb.
Kyrgios admits to spitting at fan
During the match, Kyrgios was seen complaining to chair umpire Marija Cicak about spectators and on-court officials. When the match ended, he turned around and spit in the direction of fans in the stands. The incident was captured on BBC video.
Kyrgios was asked about the incident during his post-match news conference. He admitted that the spit was directed at a fan.
“Of one of the people disrespecting me,” Kyrgios told reporters (6:08 below). “I would not be doing that to someone who was supporting me.”
Kyrgios confirmed that he asked Cicak to have fans removed.
“I’m OK with receiving a lot of it,” Kyrgios said of fan heckling. “What I don’t understand is as soon as I give it back — for instance, 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 owe that person anything.
“He literally came to the match to literally just not even support anyone, really. It was more just to stir up and disrespect. That’s fine. If I give it back to you, that’s just how it is.”
Kyrgios laments ‘disrespect’ from fans
Kyrgios has said on multiple occasions that he has been on the receiving end of racial abuse from fans. He clarified that Tuesday’s incident didn’t involve racism.
“Not today,” he said (:50) “But a lot of disrespect was thrown today from crowds. 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 — every time I came down to the far end, people just going. …
“I just don’t understand why spectators feel that they are able to do that. Just pure disrespect. Just anything. Someone just yelled out I was ‘s***’ in the crowd today. Is that normal? No. I just don’t understand why it’s happening over and over again.”
He said that while he didn’t hear racist taunts Tuesday, “it happens all time and nothing happens.”
Kyrgios dedicated his win to his hecklers during his post-match interview on court.
“The crowd was pretty rowdy today,” Kyrgios said. “A couple of people in the crowd not shy of criticizing me. That one was for you. You know who you are.”
Kyrgios criticizes line judge: ‘The old man called it out’
Kyrgios was also asked during his news conference about his complaints over officiating. One reporter asked if he told a line judge: “You’re in your 90s, you can’t see the ball.” He denied saying that, but did bring up a line judge’s age and eyesight concerning a call he said was missed.
“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,” Kyrgios said (2:30). “Because factually, people that are younger have better eyesight. …
“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? … That specific thing. I hit a ball in. The old man called it out. It was in. Arguably, if the guy was 40, he may not have called it out.”
Kyrgios also admitted to calling a lineswoman a “snitch.”
“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.”
Kyrgios, who is unseeded, dropped the first set Tuesday before rallying to defeat Jubb, 3-6, 6-1, 7-5, 6-7 (3), 7-5. He’ll face No. 26 Filip Krajinovic of Serbia in second-round play.