SYDNEY • Nick Kyrgios has accused Olympic great Dawn Fraser of being a "blatant racist" after she said tennis players should "go back to where their parents came from" if they did not set a better example to Australian youth.
The former champion swimmer initially stood by her comments and denied that they were racist.
However, she later issued an "unreserved apology for any comments... which may have caused offence to my fellow Australians including Nick and his family".
Kyrgios was the subject of a barrage of criticism back home for his on-court antics when he was beaten by Richard Gasquet in the fourth round of the Wimbledon championships on Monday.
The 20-year-old was accused of giving up, or "tanking", in one game, received a warning and a fine for an audible obscenity and conducted a running debate with the umpire throughout the match.
NOT A GOOD ROLE MODEL
If they don't like it, go back to where their fathers or their parents came from. We don't need them here in this country.
DAWN FRASER, former Australian Olympic champion swimmer, on Nick Kyrgios' tantrums on court at Wimbledon
Fraser, who has been one of Australia's best-known sporting figures since she won the 100m freestyle at three successive Olympics from 1956, commented on his behaviour on a morning TV show.
"It's absolutely disgusting. I am so shocked to think that he went out there to play and he tanked, he did all that tanking, that's terrible," the 77-year-old said.
She also appeared to take aim at Bernard Tomic, who was axed from Australia's Davis Cup team on Sunday after an extraordinary tirade at Tennis Australia following his exit from Wimbledon.
"They should be setting a better example for the younger generation of this country, a great country of ours. If they don't like it, go back to where their fathers or their parents came from. We don't need them here in this country."
Kyrgios responded by linking to a video of Fraser's comment on his Facebook page and writing: "Throwing a racket, brat. Debating the rules, disrespectful. Frustrated when competing, spoilt.
"Showing emotion, arrogant. Blatant racist, Australian legend."
Kyrgios, who was born and raised in Australia, has Greek and Malaysian-born parents.
Tomic was born in Germany, but moved to Queensland when he was three with his Yugoslavia-born parents.
REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE