One of Australia's most celebrated and beloved sporting icons, Dawn Fraser, left us speechless this morning after her angry and racist comments towards Australian tennis players, Nick Kyrgios and Bernard Tomic.
The swimming legend was commenting on Nick's behavior after his his fourth-round defeat against Frenchman Richard Gasquet during Wimbledon, prompting her to say:
“It’s absolutely disgusting. I am so shocked to think that he went out there to play and he tanked … that’s terrible,” Dawn said during a live telecast on the Today show from Noosa.
Dawn, 77, then continued her tirade against the 20-year-old Canberra native when she said that both Nick and his fellow Australian tennis player Bernard Tomic should “go back where their parents came from.”
“They should be setting a better example for the younger generation of this country, a great country of ours,” Dawn said abruptly.
“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 if they act like that.”
Dawn’s controversial comments come after a week of raging debate about the nation’s biggest young tennis stars.
After bowing out of Wimbledon this week, Bernard Tomic launched a scathing attack against Tennis Australia for withdrawing funding, claiming the sporting body “neglected him."
Tennis Australia subsequently booted 22-year-old Bernard from representing the green and gold in our Davis Cup squad.
Nick has copped flak of his own following his defeat at Wimbledon overnight. Many experts allege he “tanked” the match against Richard Gasquet – claims Nick denies.
Throughout the prestige tournament he’s made global headlines for fighting with umpires.
Nick, 20, has also declared solidarity with Bernard, telling reporters that he doesn’t think Tennis Australia should have dumped his teammate, who is Australia’s highest ranked player at 24 in the world.
Nick, 20, was born in Canberra to a Greek-born father and Malaysian-born mother, while Bernard was born in Germany and moved to Australia at the age of three with his Croatian father and Bosnian mother.
Nick took to Facebook to share his disgust over the Australian legend's comments.
"Throwing a racket, brat. Debating the rules, disrespectful. Frustrated when competing, spoilt. Showing emotion, arrogant. Blatant racist, Australian legend." He wrote to his 186,000 fans.
Dawn immediately faced backlash from the Twitter community.
User @Frithlvl was appalled by Dawn's behavior, tweeting: "This is 1. Horrifically racist and 2. Deeply hypocritical. Dawn Fraser has no right to police anyone's behavior."
While @shanemcinnes was viewed Nick's on-court behavior slightly differently to Dawn, tweeting: *"I love Dawn Fraser, but Kyrgios is not "disgraceful." Yes, he's got a mouth, & needs to be reeled in, but, he's not the first to be animated.
Nick spoke out about the tanking claims, admitting " [he] felt like he could've done better," despite trying his hardest.
“Of course I tried. There was a lot of ups and downs. It was a tough, tough time, especially when he’s not missing any balls," Nick admitted.
“I’m getting frustrated myself. I feel as if I’m playing not how I should be playing. I’m angry at myself.”
Adding, "It hurts."
“You never want to go out of a grand slam. I feel like I definitely could have done better.”
Watch Dawn's interview in the video player above