Nick Kyrgios said he had reacted to 'disrespect' from fans in London
Nick Kyrgios has said he suffered "disrespect" from the Wimbledon crowd and defended his actions after spitting in the direction of one fan following an ill-tempered first-round victory.
Kyrgios was forced to dig deep before overcoming British wildcard Paul Jubb in a five-set battle on Tuesday, with the Australian frequently clashing with spectators and a line judge.
Kyrgios, 27, accused the match official of being a "snitch" and was heard remonstrating with umpire Marija Cicak about controlling noisy members of the crowd on Court Three, even demanding that some of them be removed. At one point Kyrgios also fired a ball over the stands in a fit of frustration.
At the conclusion of the match, Kyrgios turned in the direction of the crowd and appeared to spit towards them.
When asked at a press conference if he had been spitting in the direction of a spectator, Kyrgios replied: "Of one of the people disrespecting me? Yes."
"I would not be doing that to someone who was supporting me," Kyrgios added.
The former Wimbledon quarterfinalist claimed that hostility towards players was "happening more and more in sport."
"I don't go into Argos and just start smashing someone at the counter when they're doing their job," said the world number 40.
"I've never done that in my life. I just think spectators think there's just no line there anymore. They can just say something and they film it and then they laugh about it."
Eating sushi throughout the press conference, Kyrios claimed that someone from the crowd had branded him "s**t."
"Is that normal? No. But it's happening over and over again. I think it's a level of respect. Why do they feel that's acceptable?" he asked.
Kyrios also defended the "snitch" comments he made after the line judge had engaged in conversation with the umpire about one particular line call.
"All these spectators came to see a full stadium with Nick Kyrgios and my opponent," Kyrgios said.
"She found it relevant to go to run to the umpire at 30-0 and make it about her. No one was there to see her today, factually."
Continuing his rant, Kyrgios brought up the "hate" that he said he and his family are subjected to on social media.
"My girlfriend deals with hate messages. My family deals with hate messages. I deal with hate messages," complained the Australian star.
Kyrgios could face punishment from Wimbledon organizers over his actions, which would be far from the first time he has been sanctioned for his antics.
Back in 2019, Kyrgios was given a suspended 16-week ban and fined $25,000 by the ATP for "aggravated behavior."
That came one month after he was slapped with a $113,000 fine for a meltdown in Cincinnati in which Kyrgios insulted the umpire and obliterated two rackets.
Despite the reprimands, Kyrgios continues to be involved in combustible scenes almost each and every time he takes to the court.
Earlier this month, he accused fans in Stuttgart of racially abusing him during a match in the German city.
Kyrgios is set to face Serbia's Filip Krajinovic in the second round at SW19 on Thursday, and is back in action on Wednesday in the men's doubles, where he is teaming up alongside countryman Thanasi Kokkinakis.