Controversy For Kyrgios As He Calls Line Judge “Snitch” And Spits Towards Spectator

The Aussie came through his Wimbledon first round encounter against British wildcard Paul Jubb by the skin of his teeth
18:34, 28 Jun 2022

Arguing with heckling fans, spitting in the direction of one of his chief tormentors in the crowd, calling a lineswoman a “snitch who has no fans”, berating the umpire for the lack of respect being shown towards him and failing to eject jeering spectators – and later in his press conference demanding that older umpires and lines-people be dropped “because their eyesight is worse”. 

All in all, it was just another day in the tennis life of highly combustible and controversial Aussie Nick Kyrgios at Wimbledon on Tuesday, whose rap sheet is growing much quicker than his trophy cabinet is filling. Oh yes, and somewhere in there was a thrilling rollercoaster of a tennis match that saw the surly and moody 27-year-old come through by the skin of his teeth 3-6, 6-1, 7-5, 6-7, 7-5 against British wildcard Paul Jubb of Hull. 

If Kyrgios ends his career without winning a grand slam, and that is more likely to happen at Wimbledon or Melbourne, it will not be due to any lack of talent or ability. He has it to burn. It will be seeing his focus so easily diverted from the real job in hand, and this was a classic Exhibit A – with plenty of offence given along the way.

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It started early, Kyrgios smashing a ball out of Court Three after dropping his serve. That was after 12 minutes. And things swiftly deteriorated. As he chuntered away at himself and the crowd and the umpire and the other officials – only Jubb himself was spared. He loudly called a lineswoman a “snitch” after she approached the umpire mid-game to report something he had said, then adding “Not a single person has come here today to see her”. 

As the match wore on some of the crowd, who already were loudly supporting Brit Jubb, started to get on Kyrgios’s back. He later claimed one fan called him “sh*t”, and admitted spitting in their direction at the end. 

And he called on the umpire to eject unruly fans. He said at one changeover: “You have to tell them. They have to be respectful. They are spectators who pay money to watch us play. They should be removed. There is no pure disrespect like that. Like I don’t go up to their face and go to their nine to five and start clapping when they’re scanning s*** in the supermarket, do I? Like ‘Oh yeah, boo, you can’t scan that thing for ****’. They have no right to do that. So why does it keep happening?” 

It seemed likely that the post-match press conference would be a modern-day sporting classic-  and so it proved as Kyrgios started lashing out left, right and centre – while also insisting that there had been no racial element to anything said to him on Tuesday, as has happened in the past. 

He said afterwards: “There was a lot of disrespect being thrown today from the crowds. I'm just starting to think that it's normal, when it's really not. You know, I didn't say anything to the crowd until they started just every time I came down to the far end, people just got going 

“When it happened in Stuttgart, it was the racial abuse, and then it happened to [Naomi] Osaka in Indian Wells where someone screamed out, and it affected her match. I just don't understand why spectators feel like they're able to do that. 

“Someone just yelled out I was sh*t in the crowd today. Is that normal? No. But I just don't understand why it's happening over and over again. 

“It's got nothing to do with Wimbledon. It's just a whole generation of people on social media feeling like they have a right to comment on every single thing with negativity. You can bash someone with no consequence. And 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. 

“I'm okay 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. 

“I said during the match that most of the umpires are older, and I just don't think that's ideal when you're playing a sport of such small margins. Factually people that are younger have better eyesight. When you're playing at a sport for hundreds and thousands of dollars, do you not think that we should have people that are really ready to call the ball in or out? 

“That specific thing, I hit a ball in, the old man called it out, it was in. So arguably if the guy was 40, he may not have called that out. 

“If I lose a tennis match and it comes down to a call, they're not getting abused on social media. I have to deal with it. Me, my girlfriend and my family deal with hate messages. They just move on like nothing happened. They're back out there refereeing, umpiring. 

“If I hit a 220kph serve and it hits them, I’ll be sorry. Are you okay? If they make a bad call focusing on one line, why would I have sympathy for that? There's hundreds of thousands of dollars on the line. 

“I could just show you my, like, for instance if I showed you my Instagram versus an umpire's Instagram. I heavily doubt they would be dealing with the same amount of hate. It’s disgusting some of the things I deal with. Like my brother has alopecia, and they joke about him being a cancer patient. I doubt the umpires are dealing with that.” 

A bewildered Jubb, who played at a high standard that belied his world ranking of 219 had just let the storm run its course around him. He said afterwards: “It wasn’t easy, and not the sort of thing I have experienced before. I think it fired him up at times.” 

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