Seven-time major winner Evonne Goolagong Cawley says the racism Nick Kyrgios is subjected to is due to ignorance.
Kyrgios has been the victim of racist and homophobic abuse from online trolls, with the Canberra tennis star outing those responsible on social media.
As an Indigenous tennis star, Goolagong Cawley had to deal with racism during her career and turned to her mother for advice on how to deal with it.
She was in Canberra for the Evonne Goolagong Foundation, which was putting on a coaching clinic for Indigenous children at Melba on Wednesday.
"Racism is about education. Racism is ignorance," Goolagong Cawley said.
"When I went through some racism through my early days and I went back and told Mum … she said, 'Don't worry about that, they're just ignorant'.
"So after that whenever something happened I would think about my mum."
Her comments came on the day Kyrgios faced sanctioning after making an explosive exit from the ATP Masters 1000 event in Miami, before he claimed he was a "little bored" so he started mimicking Roger Federer.
In a typically lively and controversial performance, Kyrgios destroyed two racquets, gave one to a fellow Boston Celtics fan and clashed with the umpire after being docked a point for telling a spectator "f— you man".
The combustible Canberran also produced the shot of the tournament, only to crash out 4-6 6-3 6-2 in the fourth round to 11th-seeded Croat Borna Coric.
Both players received code violations for racquet abuse, but it was Kyrgios providing all the talking points.
He approached chair umpire Gianluca Moscarella to sarcastically congratulate the Italian's controlling of the match after receiving his point penalty while down game point serving at 2-4 in the deciding set.
Having already been warned for his behaviour, Kyrgios was left fuming.
With the match all but lost, he shook left hands with the official at the ensuing changeover before he continued to berate him during the sit-down.
"Really good job. Well done," he said.
"You've controlled the environment really, really well."
Kyrgios's earlier complaints to the umpire about crowd disturbances had fallen on deaf ears.
"You've done nothing to keep the fans from yelling out," he said.
Moscarella said the fans were merely "enjoying themselves" but Kyrgios was unrepentant after the match, again taking aim at his courtside hecklers.
"They paid money to see me play and they just screamed out ridiculous things, and I'm just not going to take it anymore," Kyrgios said.
"I played for two hours and 20 minutes, and the guy yells at me: 'Play some tennis!'
"I'm not going to take it, so I just said 'F you' to him.
"Probably not needed but at that time I'd been competing and in the heat of the moment, and it's not what you want to hear."
The crowd certainly enjoyed Kyrgios's extraordinary shot making.