After losing against Britain's Andy Murray in the Stuttgart Open semifinal, Australian tennis player Nick Kyrgios said on Saturday that he was racially abused by some of the crowd during the match.
Kyrgios was penalised a point and then a game for unsportsmanlike conduct early in the second set, smashing a racquet before an angry exchange with a group in the crowd.
Former World No. 1 Andy Murray reached his first tour-level final on grass since 2016 at the BOSS OPEN on Saturday, moving past Kyrgios 7-6(5), 6-2 in Stuttgart.
In a close first set, Murray saved both break points he faced and raised his intensity on return in the tie-break to move ahead. He then hit his watertight groundstrokes aggressively and consistently in the second set to race to the finish and advance after one hour and 33 minutes.
The 27-year-old Kyrgios said he had been the victim of racism.
"When is this going to stop? Dealing with racist slurs from the crowd?" Kyrgios wrote on Instagram.
"I understand that my behavior isn't the best all the time, but 'you little black sheep' 'shut up and play' - little comments like this are not acceptable. When I retaliate to the crowd I get penalized. This is messed up."
In a separate message on Instagram later, Kyrgios wrote, "... one thing I won't ever tolerate is spectators heckling and blasting abuse to athletes. It's been happening personally to me for a while, from racist comments to complete disrespect. For years it's been something I've brushed off but especially in Indian wells and today all the way in Stuttgart, it's made me realize that people seem to think it's normal."
The Australian, who was constantly complaining to the umpire, then refused to continue playing, sitting in his chair until the supervisor came out and convinced him to finish the match.
Kyrgios then just went through the motions on court as Murray took complete command to secure a 7-6 (7/5), 6-2 victory in 93 minutes.
After the match Murray told the broadcaster, "It wasn't fun in the end. The second set wasn't a proper match. The end of the first set was deciding."
"It has been a long time since the last final (on grass). A lot of ups and downs, but I kept going and kept working and finally managed to get to another one," Murray said in his on-court interview.
"I am proud of the effort I have put in. I was just a little more solid in the tie-break. I asked the questions. On these courts, when it is playing quick, the set often comes down to one or two points and I was a little more secure at the end of the first set."