Nick Kyrgios denies he is 'the bad boy of tennis' following Wimbledon strop and row over socks
Published 06/07/2015 | 22:42
Fiery Nick Kyrgios denied he is the "bad boy of tennis" after crashing out of Wimbledon amid yet more controversy.
The 20-year-old Australian appeared to throw an entire game in protest at receiving a warning for foul language during his last-16 match against France's Richard Gasquet.
He was booed by the crowd and later got into a spat with the umpire as he took time to change his socks.
After being knocked out of the singles and mixed doubles, Kyrgios told reporters that he is "misunderstood".
But he admitted that he felt "frustration" after being slapped with another code violation in his singles match.
Asked if he sees himself as the bad boy of tennis, Kyrgios said: "Not at all, to be honest. Just because I show emotion out on the court, I'm bad. So, whatever."
When it was put to him that he had said "external bullshit" during the match, he said: "There's a lot of things going on at the moment that aren't focusing on actual tennis. There's just a lot of stuff going on."
Kyrgios could face a hefty fine of up to 20,000 US dollars (£12,860) if he is judged to have thrown a game.
His winnings for reaching the fourth round in the men's singles come to £127,000.
In a heated exchange with British umpire James Keothavong - the brother of former player Anne Keothavong - Kyrgios said: "Mate, Rafa (Rafael Nadal) and stuff play 30 seconds in between points every time and all I'm doing is putting my sock back on."
Despite his antics, the youngster received the backing of former Wimbledon champions Andy Murray and Roger Federer.
Murray said: "The most important thing is to try to be yourself.
"I don't think people always appreciate how difficult it is to grow up under the spotlight, how difficult it is to have loads of people expecting you to be perfect from a young age.
"I like Nick. I've spoken to him away from the court. He's quite different to how he is on it."
Federer also defended Kyrgios, saying: "I think we shouldn't dig too deep into those kind of things.
"If you told me he did an entire set, plus more, plus this, I'd say, 'Okay, it's a bit much probably'.
"But I just watched the end of the third, the end of the fourth. He was fighting then.
"He was really wanting to win. He should have been in the fifth at the end.
"In my opinion, it was a great match and it was close. The fans got their money's worth, in my opinion."
The hot-head first made headlines when he reached the quarter-finals last year after beating then world number one Nadal.
Following today's match his mother Nill tweeted: "You fought hard little fella. Just remember adversity is the building blocks for success, learn from them and grow."