A top Wimbledon player has said tennis fans should be more vocal because “rowdiness and loudness is what’s beautiful” about the sporting atmosphere.
The SW19 audience traditionally reacts in a more reserved manner than fans at other sports venues, and fiery Australian player Nick Kyrgios has encouraged more boisterous support as long as it is still respectful.
This comes despite the Australian number two spitting at a fan after facing “disrespect” from them during his match against Great Britain’s Paul Jubb on Tuesday.
He criticised the lack of respect shown by the current generation of fans before he went on to admit his own indiscretion.
Kyrgios was fined 10,000 US dollars over the incident, the AELTC revealed on Thursday night.
After winning his second-round singles match against Serbia’s Filip Krajinovic on Thursday, the 27-year-old Canberra-born player said he was “all for fans being as rowdy as they want”.
Kyrgios wore a glittery silver chain necklace and matching earring for his press conference on Thursday, after eating sushi on his previous appearance in front of journalists on Tuesday.
When asked by the PA news agency whether he thought Wimbledon fans were becoming rowdier and more akin to football fans this year, Kyrgios said: “I don’t mind when crowds get up and about and support.
“Obviously if there’s a wild card, and they’re locals, they want to see their countrymen do well.
“I’m all for that. I’m all for fans to be as loud as they want.
“But there’s a line I think of disrespect where this is not acceptable in any sport.
“I think rowdiness and loudness and atmosphere is what’s beautiful about this sport.”
He added: “I think for all these locals that are wild cards, I was once there.
“I loved the crowd. It’s something I never forgot.
“Just the way I learned how to deal with those emotions, the rollercoaster ride, it’s good for the sport I think.
“I think the sport needs it in a way.
“You look at all the other sports around the world, so entertaining to watch. Tennis I think needs a bit more interaction from the crowd (but) it’s got to be within the lines.”
When asked if there was an investigation into the spitting incident, Kyrgios told reporters: “I couldn’t care less if there is an investigation about me doing that, to be brutally honest with you.
“I know what I bring to the sport. (I am) one of the most important people in the sport.”
Britain’s Ryan Peniston also said on Tuesday that he “definitely” heard support from Southend United fans – his home football team – and enjoyed it.