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12 Jun, 2022 15:05

Tennis bad boy blames latest meltdown on racial slurs

Nick Kyrgios claimed he was called a 'black sheep' in Germany
Tennis bad boy blames latest meltdown on racial slurs

Tennis bad boy Nick Kyrgios suffered another furious on-court meltdown at the Stuttgart Open on Saturday but then took to social media to claim it had been triggered by racial slurs.

Kyrgios imploded at the close of the first set he lost 7-6 before Andy Murray then won the second of their semi-final to triumph 7-6, 7-2 overall.

Seeing him off in 91 minutes, Murray made short work of his worked-up foe. 

But after a tight opening set which his Scottish opponent only clinched 7-5 in a tie break, Kyrgios smashed his racket on the court once more this year and then hit the bench with it.

He received a point penalty for this, which was then followed by an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty moments later.

And after the incident completely threw him off his game, Kyrgios fell apart in the second set won easily by Murray, who in turn booked his place in the final against Matteo Berrettini.

Heading to Instagram stories after the defeat, Kyrigos suggested that "racial slurs" from the crowd and other heckles forced him to lose his cool.

"When is this going to stop?" the 27-year-old asked. "Dealing with racial slurs from the crowd?"

Kyrgios said he understood his behavior "isn't the best all the time", but then he stressed in block capitals that being called "you little black sheep" and told "shut up and play" was not acceptable.

"When I retaliate to the crowd, I get penalized. This is messed up," he concluded.

Later, on the same platform, Kyrgios wrote a lengthy message where he said he "won't ever" tolerate spectators "heckling and blasting abuse" at athletes.

"It’s been happening personally to me for a while, from racist comments to complete disrespect," Kyrgios went on.

"For years it’s been something I’ve brushed off but especially in Indian wells and today all the way in Stuttgart, it’s made me realize that people seem to think it’s normal."

As Kyrgios implied, he has suffered meltdowns at Indian Wells and also at the Miami Open and in Houston this year alone.

At Indian Wells, he smashed his racket to the ground during a quarter-final defeat to Rafael Nadal before his playing tool flew up and almost took a ball boy out.

Then in Miami, as Jannik Sinner turfed him out of the last 16, Kyrgios repeatedly raged at umpire Carlos Bernardes and later saw red with another umpire in Houston.

Reaching his 70th career final, Murray lamented not having to work as hard for the win in the second set after what was a "high quality" opener.

"You're always kind of battling yourself as well as the opponent, it's one of the difficult things about individual sports," Murray said.

"Nick has the potential to be one of the best players in the world, there's absolutely no question about that. But yeah, he obviously got very frustrated in the second set and made it a lot easier for me," the former world number one finished.

Following Kyrgios' allegations, organizers confirmed they are looking into the matter.

"We stand for creating an inclusive environment for all," they said in a statement, adding that discrimination of any kind is not tolerated.

"These fundamental values are as important as values like fairness, tolerance, and team spirit to us. Thus no discriminating actions by the spectators are accepted," the statement continued.

"We have expressed our regret towards Nick Kyrgios and his team and assured that any kind of discrimination is unacceptable. The incident is currently under investigation."