One of the top sports stories in Australia revolves around tennis star Nick Kyrgios who might be slapped with a $27,000 fine for “tanking” or purposefully giving up points during a match at Wimbledon.
Kyrgios, who’s father is Greek born has been criticized by media in a country where tennis is taken very seriously. But in addition to this being a sports story, it’s now turned into one of alleged discrimination and what the tennis player referred to as “racism” and “unaustralian behavior by a swimming legend.” in a media slugging match between the two.
Enter former champion swimmer Dawn Fraser, herself a major sports figure in Australia after winning the 100 metres freestyle at three successive Olympics.
In an interview with Australia’s Today Show, she lashed out at Kyrgios’ behavior on the tennis court and suggested “if they don’t like it, they should go back to where their fathers cam from,” a reference to Kyrgios’ Greek immigrant father.
Nick Kyrgios fired back at Fraser on Tuesday, accusing her of being a “blatant racist” about him and Davis Cup teammate Bernard Tomic in a nationally televised interview.
Australia’s top ranked male tennis player, who was born in Canberra, used Twitter and Facebook to criticize Fraser’s suggestion that he and Tomic should “go back to where their fathers or parents came from”.
“Throwing a racket, brat. Debating the rules, disrespectful. Frustrated when competing, spoilt. Showing emotion, arrogant. Blatant racist, Australian legend,“ Kyrgios wrote on his Facebook page and Tweeted.
Kyrgios was accused of tanking during his fourth round loss against Richard Gasquet and argued with journalists at the post-match media conference after he was asked about his apparent lack of effort in returning serve during the third game of the second set.
Her response was controversial.
“I think it is absolutely disgusting,” said Fraser.
“I am so shocked to think that he went out there to play and he tanked … he did all that tanking, it’s terrible.
“Should be setting an example for the younger generation of this great country of ours.”
Fraser then said: “If they don’t like it, go back to where their fathers or parents came from.
“We don’t need them in this country if they act like that.”
Kyrgios’ father, George, was born in Greece, while his mother, Nill, is from Malaysia.
Mrs Kyrgios also turned to social media to respond to Fraser’s comments.