Shanghai - Australia's Nick Kyrgios lashed out at fans and
insisted "I don't owe them anything" after he was booed off court in
a spectacular meltdown at the Shanghai Masters on Wednesday.
The hot-headed world number 14 clashed with the chair umpire
and a heckler and admitted not trying after he lost 6-3, 6-1 to German
qualifier Mischa Zverev, the world number 110.
It is just the latest incident in which Kyrgios's talent has
been overshadowed by his tempestuous nature after he received a suspended ban
for an infamous jibe last year.
Kyrgios was slapped with a code violation for an audible
obscenity and was warned to play properly in front of an increasingly restive
crowd in Shanghai.
Chair umpire Ali Nili told Kyrgios to play professionally
after he patted a soft, child-like serve into his opponent's court and was
broken to go 1-4 down in the first set.
Facing game point at 1-1 in the second set, the 21-year-old
started walking to his chair before Zverev's serve had even landed.
Australia's highest-ranked player was broken twice in the
second set and as Zverev served for the match at 5-1, he took on a heckler in a
heated argument mid-game.
Facing three match points at 0-40 down, Kyrgios then floated
a return from Zverev's second serve before the German gratefully put away the
Kyrgios, who departed to boos, later admitted he "took
the easy way out" and "tapped out a little bit".
But when asked whether he could understand why fans were
upset, he shot back: "Not at all."
"I feel like if they knew what they were talking about
they'd be on the tennis court and being successful, as well.
"No, I can't really understand it at all. They don't
know what I'm going through."
Kyrgios added: "I'm good at hitting a tennis ball at
the net. Like, big deal. I don't owe them anything. It's like it's my choice.
"If you don't like it, I didn't ask you to come watch.
Just leave. If you're so good at giving advice and so good at tennis, why
aren't you as good as me? Why aren't you on the tour?"
Kyrgios also said he "couldn't care less" if he
reaches the ATP World Tour Finals in London, the prestigious, season-ending
tournament featuring the top eight players.
The flare-up comes after Kyrgios won the third title of his
career, and season, at last week's Japan Open and was showing new focus after
pairing with trainer Martin Skinner.
Kyrgios is known for his poor behaviour on court. Last year
he received a suspended one-month ban for making a lewd and personal comment
during a match with Stanislas Wawrinka.