Nick Kyrgios admitted to spitting in the direction of a spectator at the conclusion of his five-set victory over Great Britain’s Paul Jubb at Wimbledon.
The Australian was involved in a three-hour thriller on Court Three, which he eventually won 3-6 6-1 7-5 6-7 (3) 7-5.
Kyrgios was involved in several prickly chats with a number of those in the crowd as well as the line judges throughout the round one contest.
And he criticised the lack of respect shown by the current generation of fans before he went on to admit his own indiscretion.
When asked if he spat in the direction of a spectator, Kyrgios replied: “Of one of the people disrespecting me, yes. Yes. I would not be doing that to someone who was supporting me.
“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 not even support anyone really, it was more just to stir up and disrespect. That’s fine. But if I give it back to you, then that’s just how it is.”
Kyrgios has long had a good relationship with the Wimbledon crowd but knew he would be the villain up against home favourite Jubb, who made an impressive start and claimed a decisive break in the eighth game to take the first set in 23 minutes.
World number 40 Kyrgios, who had already produced one under-arm serve, smashed a tennis ball out of the court to threaten a round one implosion but regained his cool and broke twice in the second set before he edged a tight third.
By this point the 27-year-old had started to become frustrated with some of the line judges and spectators.
His chats with the umpire were more cordial but on one occasion he did ask: “I don’t go to their nine to five and start clapping when they’re scanning s*** at a supermarket do I? Go ‘boo, well done, you can’t scan that thing for s***’…You should remove them from the crowd.”
After Kyrgios experienced racist abuse on his run to the semi-finals in Stuttgart earlier this month, he revealed that was not the case in SW19 on this occasion but asked why there is a growing trend of sporting athletes who are being abused by members of the crowd.
“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,” he added.
“I love this tournament. It’s got nothing to do with Wimbledon. I just think it’s 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 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 that they’re just able to say anything they want.
“Not today, no, no (racism). 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.”
A back and forth decider saw Kyrgios gain the upper-hand with a break to move 4-2 up in the fifth but when he had the chance to serve for the match, Jubb broke back via a sensational drop shot that even the Aussie applauded.
When the British number eight held, an upset remained on the cards but a 30th ace of the match saw Kyrgios move ahead 6-5 and he clinched another decisive break to wrap up victory with his second match point.
Jubb, who is ranked 219, believes he will be better for the experience.
“I know I’m a fraction of the player I’m going to be, what I’m capable of being,” he insisted.
“But I’m in the early stages. I’m on the process, journey, right now. I’m just looking to keep climbing but I definitely know what I’m capable of. Yeah, even myself, I feel like I could have played better today.”