Controversial Nick Kyrgios spat in the direction of a fan immediately after winning his first-round match with Great Britain's Paul Jubb at Wimbledon on Tuesday.
The Australian said the fan was verbally abusing him through the entire match. Kyrgios won 3-6, 6-1, 7-5, 6-7 (3), 7-5.
"Today, as soon as I won the match, I turned to him," Kyrgios said afterward. "I've been dealing with hate and negativity for a long time, so I don't feel like I owed that person anything."
Kyrgios, 27, said he had asked for the fan's removal during the match.
"He literally came to the match to literally just, like, not even support anyone really," Kyrgios said. "It was more just to stir up and disrespect. That's fine. But if I give it back to you, then that's just how it is."
Kyrgios said fan behavior is declining and pointed to the social-media era.
"I love this tournament -- it's got nothing to do with Wimbledon," Kyrgios said of the spitting incident. "I just think it's a whole generation of people on social media feeling like they have a right to comment on every single thing with negativity. It just carries on to real life.
"Because there's a fence there -- and I physically can't do anything or say anything because I'll get in trouble -- they just feel the need that they're just able to say anything they want."
Kyrgios was warned during the match for hitting a ball out of the stadium. He also called a lineswoman a "snitch" when she went to speak to the umpire, apparently about something Kyrgios said.
"I didn't do anything and she went to the umpire and told her something that I didn't say," Kyrgios said. "She found it relevant to go to run to the umpire at 30-love and make it about her. No one was there to see her today, factually."
Kyrgios also said he didn't understand why people are disrespectful to him at his job.
"I've never, ever just gone to anyone else's job and just blatantly spat, disrespected them," Kyrgios said. "I don't understand why people do that to athletes. Why do they feel the need that that's acceptable?
"It's happening more and more in (sports). Like, spectators are just, I don't know, so disrespectful to the athletes. I don't think it's OK. Like, have you ever gone into like a supermarket and just started berating someone scanning the groceries? No. So why do they do it when I'm at Wimbledon? Why is that?"
Kyrgios delivered 30 aces in the victory over Jubb.
--Field Level Media