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Kyrgios claims he was racially abused in Stuttgart defeat

STUTTGART, GERMANY (AFP) – Australian firebrand Nick Kyrgios (AP; pic below) claimed he was racially abused by sections of the crowd as he slipped to a bad-tempered defeat against Andy Murray in the Stuttgart semi-finals on Saturday.

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. The 27-year-old, who is of Greek origin, 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 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.”

After the tournament supervisor was called, Kyrgios merely went through the motions on court as Murray took complete command to secure a 7-6 (7/5), 6-2 victory in 93 minutes.

“You expect things to happen against him, so I’m not surprised when they do,” said Murray on Kyrgios. “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.”

The British star added, “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.”

The Stuttgart ATP event gave an apology to Kyrgios prior to Murray’s final against Wimbledon finalist Matteo Berrettini.

“We have expressed our regret to Nick Kyrgios and his team at what has happened and have assured him that we do not accept such behaviour,” a statement read. “The incident is currently being investigated by those responsible.”

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