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Explosive footage has emerged of Nick Kyrgios berating a crowd member during his bad-tempered loss to Andy Murray in the semi-finals of the Stuttgart Open.
The Aussie went down in straight sets to the former World No.1, before claiming after the match that he was racially vilified by sections of the crowd.
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The 27-year-old destroyed a racquet after losing the first set tiebreak to Murray, before unravelling in a now all too-familiar meltdown in the second set as he went down 7-6 (7-5) 6-2.
Kyrgios was involved in a running argument with the German crowd, and at one stage had to be persuaded by the umpire to keep playing after staging a sit-down protest.
Amateur footage captured one such exchange between Kyrgios and a member of the crowd, who the Aussie confronted after becoming fed up with remarks from the stands.
Kyrgios repeatedly asked the crowd member to repeat what they had said, before challenging them to say it to his face.
"Little b*tch," the Aussie could be heard muttering as he walked back onto court in disgust.
After the match, the Aussie claimed he was the victim of racist abuse and made an impassioned plea for tennis fans to cut it out after revealing that he was called a "little black sheep" by someone in attendance.
“When is this going to stop? Dealing with racist slurs from the crowd?” Kyrgios wrote on Instagram.
“I understand that my behaviour 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 penalised. This is messed up.”
Andy Murray feels for Nick Kyrgios after meltdown
Murray's win saw him reach his first tour-level final on grass since 2016, with the Brit to face 2021 Wimbledon runner-up Matteo Berrettini.
The 35-year-old said while he was delighted to be playing in another grass court final, he felt for Kyrgios after the drama-filled showdown.
“You’re always kind of battling yourself as well as the opponent, it’s one of the difficult things about individual sports,” Murray said.
“Nick has the potential to be one of the best players in the world, there’s absolutely no question about that. But, yeah, he obviously got very frustrated in the second set and made it a lot easier for me.
“But look, I’m happy to be in the final. I’ve played well this week and I’ve got a great opportunity against Matteo (Berrettini) tomorrow.
“The second set was not much fun to play, it was not very competitive.
“It wasn’t really a match. He started well but closer to the end he got frustrated. The first set was tough and the end of the first set was the crucial part of the match.
“You expect things to happen against him, so I’m not surprised when they do. “It was a very frustrating set for him to lose and he broke a racquet. He also had a back and forth with the umpire and something seemed to happen in the crowd.
“But I didn’t really hear anything after the first set.”
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