Wimbledon just got even worse for Nick Kyrgios, with a war of words raging across social media between the 20-year-old rising star of Australian tennis and 77-year-old Olympic gold medallist Dawn Fraser.
Kyrgios was accused of “tanking” in his fourth round loss to Richard Gasquet overnight after being given a code violation by the umpire for swearing. He lost his first service game of the second set, then didn’t attempt to compete in the third game, losing it 40-0.
He denied tanking in a frosty post-match media conference, but on Channel 9’s The Today Show this morning, Olympic swimming star Dawn Fraser unleashed on his performance. “It’s absolutely disgusting,” she said. “I am so shocked to think that he went out there to play and he tanked”.
But then Fraser slurred the heritage of Australian-born Kyrgios, whose father is Greek and mother Malaysian, also taking swipe at German-born Australian Bernard Tomic, who lashed out a Tennis Australia after losing at Wimbledon, and was subsequently dropped from the Davis Cup team.
“They should be setting a better example for the younger generation of this country,” Fraser said. “If they don’t like it, go back to where their fathers or their parents came from. We don’t need them here in this country to act like that.”
Kyrgios, now feeling under siege on all fronts, took to social media to respond, calling Fraser a “blatant racist” on Facebook in a post that shows he’s clearly hurt by the way he has been portrayed in contrast to the labels given to Fraser. Here’s the full post:
The saddest part of this incident is that it seems like Fraser, one of Australia’s greatest Olympians, seems to have forgotten what it’s like to be a 20-something sports star with the pressure of a nation’s hopes on your back and your every move under scrutiny by both fans and officialdom.
Fraser’s genius was ended prematurely at age 27 by the Australian Swimming officials when she was accused of stealing an Olympic flag from a flagpole outside Emperor Hirohito’s palace at the 1964 Tokyo Games. She was already in trouble with officials and sponsors for marching in the opening ceremony against their wishes, and then for wearing an old costume in the races, rather than the new one. She was originally suspended for a decade over the flag incident, but the ban was overturned just before the 1968 Olympics, when it was too late for her to prepare.
Kyrgios wowed Australia as a teenager 12 months ago when he made it to the quarters at Wimbledon and now the young man seems to be struggling to balance his passion and the pressures.
Fraser should be offering wise counsel, not telling a fellow Australian to bugger off. She should know better than most that Australian sports fans forgive the indiscretions of great talent.
Throwing a racket, brat. Debating the rules, disrespectful. Frustrated when competing, spoilt. Showing emotion,… http://t.co/QDvnaUNYxZ
— Nicholas Kyrgios (@NickKyrgios) July 7, 2015
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