Nick Kyrgios gave a metaphorical two fingers to his critics by letting his tennis do the talking and racing into the third round at Wimbledon.
The Australian was widely condemned for his behaviour during his first-round win over Britain’s Paul Jubb.
Kyrgios had admitted spitting in the direction of a fan who was “disrespecting” him, and called a line judge a “snitch”, in a testy five-set win, the latest in a string of on-court misdemeanours in a controversial career.
It was announced late on Thursday that Kyrgios had been fined 10,000 US dollars, just over £8,200, for Tuesday’s transgressions.
But he was on his best behaviour – well, almost, he did moan about a late challenge and a spectator who coughed – as he rolled over Serbian 26th seed and Queen’s Club finalist Filip Krajinovic 6-2 6-3 6-1.
“I guess just from a personal performance standpoint, my performance in my first round was just not where I wanted to be,” said Kyrgios, 27.
“Especially with the way I’ve been playing and the way I’ve been training, the hard work I’ve been doing. I was pretty disappointed in my performance in the first round.
“Then obviously the media’s disrespect and just everything, it was just kind of a reminder to put you all back in your place from the performance today.
“He made finals at Queen’s, top 30 in the world, seeded. It’s a gentle reminder.
“Today from the get-go, I just felt really good. From the back of the court I felt like I really returned well. I was just very just locked in from the get-go today.
“I just wanted to, I don’t know, just prove to people that, like, I’m really good. I feel like I just don’t have the respect sometimes, you know?
“There was just nothing the media possibly could tell me I did wrong today. I just know that you can’t possibly ask me anything and stir anything up.
“And I love it because then you can’t write anything. What are you going to say? Nothing today. Dumbfounded all of you.”
Kyrgios fans were disappointed to learn that he had pulled out of the doubles competition he had entered with fellow Aussie Thanasi Kokkinakis.
But he added: “I’m a singles player. My priority has always been singles. I’ve made quarter-finals here before, I’ve won singles titles. I’ve obviously put singles as my priority.
“I played nearly four hours in my first round. Me personally, it was just too much time on court. Today I made up for that. I’m doing what’s best for my body.”
Kyrgios’ victory set up a mouthwatering third-round clash with Greek fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas, who was equally as impressive in dispatching Australia’s Jordan Thompson 6-2 6-3 7-5.
Rafael Nadal was mildly inconvenienced by Lithuanian Ricardas Berankis but still came through in four sets.
The Spanish second seed, still on course for a calendar grand slam after his Australian and French Open victories, dropped the third set against the world number 106.
But Nadal wrapped up a 6-4 6-4 4-6 6-3 victory with an ace and will meet Italy’s Lorenzo Sonego in round three.
“Every day is a challenge, all the opponents are difficult – we are playing the best players in the world,” he said.
“I didn’t play much on grass in the last three years so every day is an opportunity to improve. I’m through and I’m very happy with that.
“I need to improve. But the fourth set was much better, a good level of tennis and the serve worked better.
“It’s important for me to accept things are not perfect and keep working, being humble, accept the challenge and think positive.”