Sydney - Temperamental Australian tennis star Nick Kyrgios slammed swimming legend Dawn Fraser as a "blatant racist" on Tuesday after she told him to "go back to where his parents came from" following his stormy Wimbledon exit.
Kyrgios's colourful antics, on show at the All England Club, have split Australians with some seeing him as good for a sport in need of characters, but others claiming his behaviour is petulant and disrespectful.
After losing in four sets to France's Richard Gasquet on Monday, he was accused of giving up or "tanking" a game during a disastrous second set and responded to media questions on the incident with a string of sarcastic replies.
Sporting icon Fraser, winner of eight Olympic medals for Australia including four golds from 1956-64, blasted his behaviour in a national television interview as "absolutely disgusting".
"I am so shocked to think that he went out there to play and he tanked... he did all that tanking, it's terrible," she said on the Nine Network.
She also appeared to take aim at Bernard Tomic, who was axed from Australia's Davis Cup team on Sunday after a extraordinary tirade at Tennis Australia.
"They should be setting an example for the younger generation of this great country of ours," she 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."
Australian-born Kyrgios's father hails from Greece while his mother is from Malaysia. Tomic is German-born with a Croatian father and Bosnian mother - the family migrated to Australia when he was three.
Kyrgios, who denied giving up in the second set as he was booed by the crowd, hit back at Fraser on Facebook.
"Throwing a racket, brat. Debating the rules, disrespectful. Frustrated when competing, spoilt. Showing emotion, arrogant," wrote the 20-year-old, with a link to the Fraser interview.
"Blatant racist, Australian legend."
His mother Nill added her thoughts on Twitter.
"I have no comments on Dawn Frasers nasty racist attack...but she is out of line. #unaustralianbehaviour,"she posted.
Fraser, who once voiced support for some of the policies of notorious anti-immigration MP Pauline Hanson, later defended her controversial remarks, claiming: "I'm not a racist person.
"If you take (my comments) that way then I'm sorry that you take it that way, but I'm not racist at all," she told Fairfax Media.
Fraser added that Kyrgios was "just bad mannered; he's just a bad sport" and said Australians would stop watching him and Tomic if they carried on in the same vein.
"The boys are behaving disgracefully as far as sportsmen are concerned, they're not setting a good example for children that follow them," she said.
"Pull your head in and show good sportsmanship on and off the court."
Race Discrimination Commissioner Tim Soutphommasane insisted Australia was "a society where immigrants are eager and are encouraged to become citizens and claim their place as an equal among us".
"Contrary to what the likes of Dawn Fraser might say, most Australians do not tell migrants and their children to go back to where they came from," he said.