Nick Kyrgios was still letting off steam in his post-match press conference as he set a journalist straight after a controversial first round win.
Nick Kyrgios came out on top in a fiery Wimbledon five-setter on Wednesday morning (AEST) and blasted fans’ “disrespect” as well as “90-year-old” officials before admitting he spat towards one of his tormentors in the crowd.
The Australian’s 3-6, 6-1, 7-5, 6-7 (3/7), 7-5 first-round victory over British wildcard Paul Jubb showcased his brutal shotmaking, which reaped 30 aces and 67 winners.
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But the dark side of the 27-year-old crowd-pleaser was also on show. Even as early as the first set on a packed and raucous Court Three, Kyrgios demanded some fans be removed.
At his post-match press conference, Kyrgios jousted with journalists as he hit out at the abuse he says he receives on a daily basis, both on and off court.
After he addressed reporters, The Times tennis writer Stuart Fraser tweeted: “Day two at Wimbledon and Nick Kyrgios has already won the award for Best Press Conference of the fortnight. Blimey.”
Kyrgios was breathing fire when he fronted up to the press — all while eating pasta in between answering questions.
“A lot of disrespect was being thrown today from the crowds,” he said. “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.
“Just pure disrespect, just anything. Someone just yelled out I was s**t in the crowd today. Is that normal? No. I just don’t understand why it’s happening over and over again.
“Have you ever gone to a supermarket and just started berating someone scanning the groceries? No. So why do they do it when I’m at Wimbledon? Why is that?”
In his testy news conference, Kyrgios was himself accused of lacking respect for the line judges. He had been overheard saying “90-year-olds can’t see the ball” during the opening round victory but denied using those words, sparking a to-and-fro with a reporter and at one stage other journalists in the room burst out laughing.
Kyrgios: “No, 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. 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?”
Reporter: “Is it an age thing, though?”
Kyrgios: “Factually, does someone have better eyesight when they’re younger?”
Reporter: “Not necessarily.”
Kyrgios: “What do you mean not necessarily? What does he mean? What do you mean not necessarily? That specific thing, I hit a ball in, the old man called it out, it was in. So arguably if the guy was 40, he may not have called that out.”
Reporter: “But he may be 60 and may have 20/20 vision, you don’t know that.”
Kyrgios: “But in that case he got the call wrong.”
Reporter: “But young people get a call wrong, don’t they?”
Kyrgios: “OK, I don’t understand the question though.”
As well as his displeasure with a section of the crowd and issues with an official’s age, Kyrgios also called a line judge “a snitch with no fans” and had no regrets about the language he used.
“I didn’t do anything and she went to the umpire and told her something that I didn’t say,” said Kyrgios.
“She found it relevant to go to run to the umpire at 30-love and make it about her.”
Kyrgios said it was unfair fans could verbally abuse him, but he could do nothing about it.
“Look, I’m OK 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,” Kyrgios said.
“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.
“There’s a fence there and I physically can’t do anything or say anything because I’ll get in trouble. They’re able to say anything they want.”
Kyrgios, who stunned Rafael Nadal on his way to the quarter-finals at the All England Club in 2014, arrived at the tournament after semi-final runs in grass-court events in Stuttgart and Halle.
In Stuttgart, he claimed he was racially abused.
“I’ve been dealing with hate and negativity for a long time,” he said on Wednesday.
“Some spectators think there’s just no line there anymore. They can just say something and they film it and then they laugh about it.”