Swimming legend Dawn Fraser, a woman banned from international competition for 10 years for misconduct, has suggested Nick Kyrgios should “go back where [his]parents came from” after the young Australian-born tennis player crashed out of Wimbledon yesterday.
Fraser was asked for her view about the ‘antics’ of Kyrgios on this morning’s Today Program on Channel 9.
She attacked Kyrgios for “tanking” during the third set of his match against Frenchman Richard Gasquet, and for slamming his racket on the ground and arguing with umpires.
But not content with ‘armchair sports critic’, the four-time Olympic Gold Medallist decided to go full racist.
"They should be setting a better example for the younger generation of this great country of ours," a scowling, curmudgeonly Fraser told the Today Show.
"If they don't like it, go back to where their parents came from. We don't need them here in this country to act like that."
Kyrgios’ father is from Greece, and his mother is Malaysian, however Nick was born in Canberra.
The ‘they’ in Fraser’s rant was also a shot at fellow tennis star Bernard Tomic, who was born in Germany but came to Australia at the age of three. Tomic’s father is Croatian and his mother is Bosnian.
In a relatively oblique response, Kyrgios hit back on his Facebook page:
“Throwing a racket, brat. Debating the rules, disrespectful. Frustrated when competing, spoilt. Showing emotion, arrogant.
“Blatant racist, Australian legend.”
Fraser is, of course, no stranger to sporting controversy herself.
The second paragraph of entry in the Australian Sporting Hall of Fame makes that abundantly clear: “Fraser is probably Australia's most decorated and most controversial athlete of all time. Known for her politically incorrect behaviour and larrikin character as much as her athletic ability….”
She was suspended by the Australian Swimming Union for 10 years, after her behaviour at the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo. She was arrested outside Japan’s Imperial Palace after an Olympic flag was stolen from the flagpole of Emperor Hirohito. The ban was lifted in the lead-up to the 1968 Olympics, but Fraser never returned to international swimming.
Fraser, who was named Australian of the Year in 1964, went on to serve a brief career in NSW Parliament as the Independent Member for Balmain in 1988, a seat Labor won back off her at the 1991 election.
The seat is now held by Greens member Jamie Parker, whose mother and father come from England.
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