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Nick Kyrgios emerged victorious from an opening-round five-setter against British wildcard Paul Jubb at Wimbledon on Tuesday but controversy again followed, with the Australian blasting the "disrespect" he feels he receives.
The 27-year-old defeated Jubb 3-6 6-1 7-5 6-7 (3-7) 7-5 and hit 67 winners but after a drama-filled three hours and five minutes, his prompting of a line judge to speak to the chair umpire and demands for some fans to be removed were punctuated by spitting towards a section of the crowd upon victory.
Earlier this month, tournament organisers in Stuttgart investigated when Kyrgios claimed he was racially abused by sections of the crowd during a match.
At his post-match news conference, Kyrgios jousted with journalists on the capacity of older line judges to make accurate calls, but primarily focused on the perceived normality of on and off-court abuse.
"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 a testy news conference, Kyrgios was himself accused of lacking respect, but he lamented over not being able to respond to the abuse he receives on the court without some kind of punishment.
The world number 40 insisted he has no regrets on spitting towards an unruly fan after his win.
"Today, as soon as I won the match, I turned to him," Kyrgios said. "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."