Andy Murray believes Australian bad boy Nick Kyrgios should be cut some slack while he matures and learns to handle his emotions on the court.
Kyrgios crashed out in the last 16 to Richard Gasquet on Monday and the youngster attracted attention again for his petulant antics during the contest.
Early in the second set, Kyrgios drew boos from the crowd as he appeared to stop trying, allowing one Gasquet serve to sail straight past him before patting another limply into the net.
Kyrgios’ performance was the latest in a long list of misdemeanours at SW19.
He appeared to shout “dirty scum” at an umpire during his first-round match but later said he had been talking to himself, he snubbed a group of Australian supporters, and he bounced his racquet into the ground, which ended up hitting spectators.
During a bolshy post-match press conference, Kyrgios insisted he is “misunderstood” by the media and Murray believes the Australian needs time to settle down.
“The most important thing is to try to be yourself,” Murray said of Kyrgios’ behaviour.
“I don’t think people always appreciate how difficult it is to grow up under the spotlight, how difficult it is to have loads of people expecting you to be perfect from a young age.
“I like Nick. I’ve spoken to him away from the court. He’s quite different to how he is on it.”
Murray continued: “It’s not easy. He’ll find his way, for sure. But he’ll hopefully have good people around him that can help him, people that have experienced being on the tour.
“Guys like Lleyton Hewitt and Pat Rafter and these guys will be able to help with that.
“It’s important to listen to them, I would say.”
Murray beat Ivo Karlovic in four sets on Monday and he next faces Canadian Vasek Pospisil, who has never gone past the third round at a grand slam before.
Pospisil, who beat Britain’s James Ward earlier in the tournament, has played two five-setters in a row to reach the last eight and Murray believes fatigue could be a factor.
“I think I’m playing well. I’m through into the quarter-finals against Pospisil, which is a good opportunity for me,” said Murray, who is yet to lose to Pospisil in three previous meetings.
“I’ve played him three times on hard courts, I think a couple of them were indoors as well, so I’ve never played him on grass.
“He’s had a good run here and he obviously won the doubles here last year.
“He can play well on the surface. He’s also played a lot of tennis here, which is a positive for him in some ways but also maybe he’s a little bit fatigued.
“So if that is the case, and I won’t bank on that being the case, but if that is the case, I’ll try to use that to my advantage.
“Although my match was quite long today, the rallies aren’t particularly long, and it’s not as physical so I feel pretty fresh.”
Murray had to take treatment for a shoulder problem in his previous match against Andreas Seppi but the Briton says it has improved.
“It feels better,” Murray said.
“I would have liked to have served a little bit bigger today, a little bit harder.
“That’s something that as I go on in the tournament, I’ll need to try to do more of.
“I’m still conscious of it, I’m playing with quite a lot of taping on the shoulder but obviously I played for three hours today and it feels better than it did three or four days ago, which is positive.”