Kyrgios stunned by criticism back home, asks for respect

Wed Jul 8, 2015 12:24am EDT
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SYDNEY (Reuters) - Nick Kyrgios has been stunned by the ferocity of criticism leveled at him over his behavior at Wimbledon and has called on his fellow Australians to show him respect even if they cannot love him.

The 20-year-old said he had contemplated walking away from the game he admits he does not "love" after being hammered in the media, both traditional and social, in the wake of his fourth round loss to Richard Gasguet at the All England Club.

Olympic swimming great Dawn Fraser apologized on Tuesday for saying Kyrgios and Bernard Tomic should "go back to where their parents came from" if they did not behave properly on court but that has not stemmed the flood of vitriol.

"It's been tough for me waking up everyday with negative messages," Kyrgios told Fairfax media.

"People don't really know what goes on in my life. I've read a lot of what's been said about me.

"I've read a whole lot. Comments like 'he shouldn't be representing Australia', 'he's a disgrace'. It's tough to read. I'm human.

"I don't really want them to love me. I don't want their love, but everyone deserves respect."Kyrgios and 22-year-old Tomic, numbers 29 and 26 in the world, are Australia's best hopes of ending a 13-year men's singles grand slam title drought which goes back to Lleyton Hewitt's 2002 Wimbledon triumph.

Quarter-final appearances at Wimbledon last year and Melbourne Park in January saw Kyrgios assume the greater weight of expectation but the focus after Monday's exit was on the manner of his departure from the All England Club.

While showing off his brilliant shot-making, Kyrgios was fined for an audible obscenity, indulged in a running debate with the umpire and had to defend himself afterwards against accusations of "tanking", or giving up.   Continued...

Nick Kyrgios of Australia hits a shot during his match against Richard Gasquet of France at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, July 6, 2015.                REUTERS/Henry Browne