Nick Kyrgios admits spitting in direction of abusive fan during Wimbledon first-round win and questions 'old man' line judge
Kyrgios sent down 30 aces and made 55 unforced errors against British No 8 Paul Jubb before reaching the second round with a 3-6 6-1 7-5 6-7 (3-7) 7-5 victory, but his focus after the match was on the Wimbledon crowd
Last Updated: 28/06/22 9:13pm
Nick Kyrgios admitted to spitting in the direction of an abusive fan as he gave an explosive post-match press conference on Tuesday.
Kyrgios criticised abusive Wimbledon fans and questioned the age of the line judges after reaching the second round with a 3-6 6-1 7-5 6-7 (3-7) 7-5 victory over British No 8 Paul Jubb.
In response to one reporter's question, that asked, "At the end, you did appear to spit in the direction of..." Kyrios responded: "Of one of the people disrespecting me, yes. I would not be doing that to someone who was supporting me."
He added: "I've been dealing with hate and negativity for a long time, so I don't feel like I owed that person anything.
"He literally came to the match to not even support anyone really, just to stir up disrespect. That's fine, but if I give it back to you, that's just how it is."
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Kyrgios said he was not racially abused during the match, but continued to criticise the crowd generally and the influence of social media in emboldening "negativity".
"A lot of disrespect was being thrown today," Kyrgios said. "And 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 - just going. I don't know if it's normal or not."
The Australian world No 40 added: "I love this tournament. It has nothing to do with Wimbledon; I just think it's just a whole generation of people, on social media, feeling like they have a right to comment on every single thing with negativity. It just carries on into real life.
"There's a fence there, and I physically can't do anything or say anything because I will get in trouble, so they just feel that they can just say anything they want."
Kyrgios also spoke of his frustration at a fiery exchange with a line judge during the match, with the 27-year-old standing by his criticism of the "old man".
"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.
"Factually, people that are younger have better eyesight. Do you not think that's appropriate?
"When you're playing 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?
"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 that out. In that case, he got the call wrong."
Kyrgios sent down 30 aces and made 55 unforced errors in his hard-fought victory, with 22-year-old Jubb pushing him all the way to five sets.
Earlier, in his on-court interview, Kyrgios paid tribute to the British youngster while also referencing his disappointment with the crowd.
"Incredibly tough," he said. "Obviously he's a local wild card, he had nothing to lose, played the moment and played some exceptional tennis.
"(The) crowd was pretty rowdy today, a couple of people in the crowd were not shy of criticising me. That one was for you. You know who you are."
What Kyrgios said in explosive press conference
Reporter: Sorry to get off the tennis track. Rather serious question. Were you racially abused out on court?
NK: Not today, no, no. But a lot of disrespect was being thrown today from the crowds. I'm just starting to think that it's normal when it's really not. You know, 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.
Reporter: How does that make you feel when you feel that? A lot of people like you here. Is this something new that you're discovering?
NK: It just happened, like, obviously when it happened in Stuttgart, the racial abuse, and then it happened to (Naomi) Osaka in Indian Wells where someone screamed out, affected her match. I just don't understand why spectators feel like they're able to do that.
Reporter: Are you able to share with us any details of what was said to you?
NL: Just pure disrespect, just anything. Like someone just yelled out I was s*** in the crowd today. Is that normal? No. But I just don't understand why it's happening over and over again.
Reporter: You normally love this tournament…
NK: No, I love this tournament. It's got nothing to do with Wimbledon. I just think it's a whole generation of people like on social media feeling like they have a right to comment on every single thing with negativity. It just carries on to real life.
Because there's a fence there, and I physically can't do anything or say anything because I'll get in trouble. They just feel the need that they're just able to say anything they want.
Reporter: On the flip side of that, you were overheard today, you were having a bit of an interaction with the line judges. At one point I think you said: "You're in your 90s, you can't see the ball."
NK: 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?
NK: Factually does someone have better eyesight when they're younger?
Reporter: Not necessarily.
NK: What do you mean 'not necessarily' (laughter)? What does he mean? What do you mean 'not necessarily'?
Reporter: I don't know.
NK: 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.
NK: In this case he got the call wrong.
Reporter: Young people get a call wrong, don't they?
NK: Okay. I don't understand the question, though.
Reporter: Can you elaborate on the whole social media thing? Do other players share your fears? What would you like Wimbledon to do about it?
NK: I didn't say it for anyone to... I'm just giving you an example. I think people, spectators, everyone is so quick to just negatively put their energy on someone else. And there's no real consequences.
On social media you can just bash someone on social media and there's no real consequence. Now, whether it's racial abuse or just disrespect, it's acceptable. But why is that acceptable?
Reporter: If it's two or three times, should they then say...
NK: I don't know. As a player who cops it very hard, I'm getting it nearly every match. I'm playing someone who is -- just because they're sitting there and I can't do anything, they just feel the need.
Reporter: Has any authority ever taken a fan out in any of your matches?
NK: Yeah, a couple of times.
Reporter: Do you have any sympathy for what happens with the line judges, for example? Do you have any sympathy with sometimes how they're treated by players, for example? Umpires take it, line judges take it.
NK: It goes deeper than that because if I lose a tennis match and it comes down to a call, they're not getting abused on social media. I have to deal with it. My girlfriend deals with hate messages. My family deals with hate messages. I deal with hate messages.
Where, for instance, that time in Miami when Carlos Bernardes did that and the whole match turned. Was he dealing with the repercussions? I still deal with that. They just move on like nothing happened. They're back out there refereeing, umpiring.
For me the hate messages, they carry way more weight than just that. That's what people don't understand. It's not just, Oh, he made a bad call, and I'm just abusing the umpire. I'm frustrated.
If I lose this match, you have no idea how much abuse I have to go through, where the umpires don't go through anything. What do they go through?
Reporter: Do you have any sympathy for them, though?
NK: Yeah, if I hit a 220 serve and it hits him, Oh, sorry. Are you okay? If they make a bad call, I just focus on one line, why would I have sympathy for that? There's hundreds of thousands of dollars on the line. Why would I have sympathy for that? Doesn't make sense.
Reporter: Can I just ask, at the end you did appear to spit in the direction of...
NK: Of one of the people disrespecting me. Yes.
Reporter: So that was deliberate?
NK: Yes. I would not be doing that to someone who was supporting me.