'The sport needs characters', says Nick Kyrgios after 'dirty scum' outburst at Wimbledon
Nick Kyrgios has insisted he was calling himself "dirty scum" and not the umpire in his routine Wimbledon victory over Diego Schwartzman.
Colourful Australian Kyrgios dispatched Argentina's Schwartzman 6-0 6-2 7-6 (8/6) on Monday to progress to Wimbledon's second round, but risked a fine for his on-court outburst.
Kyrgios denied directing his outburst at umpire Mohamed Lahyani, after threatening to stop play when contesting a call in the third set.
"Wouldn't bother me one bit," said Kyrgios when asked if he feared receiving a fine for his behaviour. “I play my sport the way I play it, I’m not going to change. I think the sport needs characters. It’s good when the crowd see someone raw.”
"I wasn't referring to the ref at all there, it was towards myself.
"But, yeah, obviously I knew you guys were going to ask me about that."
When quizzed on why he called himself "dirty scum", Kyrgios replied: "Why are you so caught up about the question? Because I can."
Kyrgios burst on to the tennis world's major consciousness by dumping Rafael Nadal out of the fourth round at Wimbledon last year, and has improved rapidly since.
The world number 29 will now meet the winner of Argentina's Juan Monaco and Germany's Florian Mayer in the second round at SW19.
Kyrgios attempted to explain away the on-court delay by claiming questionable calls "shouldn't be something that can be taken lightly".
"I just wanted to get the guy that was in charge of the referees," he said.
"He was already sitting out there. I'm not too fussed about the call to be honest, but if it was more a crucial time in the match, or deeper in the tournament, that could swing things.
"It shouldn't be something that can be taken lightly. You've got to make the right call there.
"He knew it was a replay, the guy sitting off the court.
"He ultimately said, 'it's the ref's call'.
"I really couldn't do anything about it."