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Kyrgios in Wimbledon spitting scandal

Sport

Nick Kyrgios has admitted to spitting towards a “disrespectful” spectator and calling a lineswoman a “snitch” during an explosive start to his Wimbledon campaign.

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The controversial Australian tennis star said he was fed up with being verbally and racially taunted after claiming to be the subject of more abuse during his tense five-set first-round win over British world No.219 Paul Jubb last night.

He made no apologies when asked to confirm if he deliberately spat in the direction of the heckler after the match in an incident that shocked onlookers at the All England Club.

“Of one of the people disrespecting me, yes,” Kyrgios said following his 3-6 6-1 7-5 6-7 (3-7) 7-5 win on court 3.

“I would not be doing that to someone who was supporting me.

“Look, I’m OK with receiving a lot of it. But what I don’t understand is as soon as I give it back, for instance in Stuttgart I gave it back, I got a game penalty.

“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 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.”

Kyrgios spent much of the three-hour, five-minute encounter complaining to the chair umpire about sections of the crowd and also took aim at several on-court officials.

Australian sport’s most polarising figure said he had no regrets calling one lineswoman a “snitch”.

“No, why? That’s what she did,” Kyrgios said.

“I didn’t do anything and she went to the umpire and told her something that I didn’t say. That’s called whistleblowing. Factually what happened.”

The 27-year-old told another lineswoman to “get off the court” after successfully challenging her incorrect call, then claimed she was “the worst I’ve ever seen”.

In other results, Ajla Tomljanovic has saved Australia from a women’s wipe-out with an impressive first-round Wimbledon victory.

A quarter-finalist last year, Tomljanovic lived up to her status as the new Aussie No.1 with a 6-2 6-3 upset win over 18th seed Jil Teichmann.

Teichmann was fresh off a breakout run to the last 16 at Roland Garros but Tomljanovic swept past the Swiss southpaw in 77 minutes to book a date on Thursday with American qualifier Catherine Harrison.

Tomljanovic’s triumph came as wildcard Daria Saville and qualifiers Zoe Hives, Astra Sharma and Jaimee Fourlis all bombed out.

In the men’s draw, Jordan Thompson led a parade of four Aussie men’s winners along with Jason Kubler, Alex de Minaur and Kyrgios.

Although his 6-4 6-1 6-1 victory over Spanish clay-court specialist Roberto Carballes Baena was probably the lowest-key among the quartet, his next assignment certainly won’t be when he meets the Greek superstar, No.4 seed Tsitsipas.

Earlier, national No.1 Alex de Minaur, the No.19 seed, eased to a 6-1 6-3 7-5 win over Bolivian Hugo Dellien on No.1 court.

Then the Australian performance of the day came late on when qualifier Jason Kubler continued his unlikely heroics by knocking out Britain’s No.28 seed Dan Evans 6-1 6-4 6-3.

But there was only the most bitter disappointment for another of Thompson’s Sydney friends, Alexei Popyrin, left a picture of misery after losing 6-2 4-6 0-6 7-6 (7-3) 6-3 to unorthodox French leftie Hugo Gaston.

Popyrin was serving for the match at 5-3 in the fourth set when Gaston, who put paid to de Minaur’s chances at the French Open, came up with one of his inspired games to break.

 – AAP

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