Australian tennis bad boy Nick Kyrgios has become involved in a row with Aussie swimming legend Dawn Fraser. Kyrgios crashed out of the Wimbledon tennis championship amidst a row about his performance and his on-court behavior. Kyrgios was playing a fourth round match against Richard Gasquet and was one set and a service break down when he seemingly went into meltdown. The match umpire gave a “code violation” against 20-year-old Kyrgios, who is Australia’s top ranked player, after he could be heard using foul language.
Kyrgios was then accused of “tanking” when he appeared to stop trying. He stood still and apparently stopped even trying to return Gasquet’s serve. He eventually lost the set six games to one. According to the Daily Mail, Kyrgios also sarcastically applauded umpire James Keothavong and also argued with him over the time he took to change his socks during the third set. He also threw down his racket and appeared to deliberately lose games.
Kyrgios was roundly booed by the watching crowd as a result of his behavior, and it is likely that he will face punishment from the International Tennis Federation. Kyrgios could be fined up to $250,000 as grand slam rules demand that “A player shall use his best efforts to win a match when competing.” Kyrgios also got into a verbal spat with reporters during the post match interview when he angrily denied that he had stopped trying.
In the aftermath of the match, Kyrgios became embroiled in a racism row with 77-year-old Australian Olympic swimming star Dawn Fraser. Interviewed on Australian television, Fraser attacked Kyrgios’s performance and also appeared to take a sideswipe at another Australian tennis star, Bernard Tomic. Fraser launched a scathing attack on Kyrgios, suggesting that he and Tomic should go back to where they came from.
“They should be setting a better example for the younger generation of this country, a great country of ours. If they don’t like it, go back to where their fathers or their parents came from. We don’t need them here in this country if they act like that.”
Kyrgios was born in Canberra, though his father was born in Greece and his mother in Malaysia. Mrs. Kyrgios took to Twitter to brand Fraser’s comments as un-Australian.
I have no comments on Dawn Frasers nasty racist attack…but she is out of line. #unaustralianbehaviour
— nill kyrgios (@nillkyrgios) July 7, 2015
Fraser’s comments about Kyrgios and Tomic were roundly criticized on social media, with a host of people calling her a blatant racist.
— The Mad Potter (@themadpotterco) July 7, 2015
According to the BBC, Nick Kyrgios linked to Fraser’s interview on his Facebook page and responded, “[T]hrowing a racket, brat. Debating the rules, disrespectful. Frustrated when competing, spoilt. Showing emotion, arrogant. Blatant racist, Australian legend.”
As a result of the outcry, Fraser denied that she was being racist but did offer “an unreserved apology.”
[Photo by Ian Walton / Getty Images]