Nick Kyrgios
Tennis - French Open - Roland Garros - Nick Kyrgios of Australia vs Richard Gasquet of France - Paris, France - 27/05/16. Reuters/Benoit Tessier

Australian tennis player Nick Kyrgios was booed at the Shanghai Masters on Wednesday, following a lifeless 6-3, 6-1 defeat to Mischa Zverev. He sharply defended his conduct, saying he didn’t owe anything to those who watched the match, and that they could’ve left if they didn’t like him.

After his win at the Japan Open just three days prior, Kyrgios, the world no. 14 player known for throwing tantrums, barely competed in the second-rounder against Zverev, who is ranked 110th. Zverev only has seven total ATP tour wins for the season.

At one point during the match, Kyrgios gently tapped a soft serve over the net and started walking off court before Zverev had the chance to return the ball. Chair umpire Ali Nili strongly criticised Kyrgios for his attitude in the first set.

"This is a professional tournament, you have to act like a professional," Nili said.

The boos and jeers from the crowd began towards the end of the match. One spectator shouted at Kyrgios to “respect the game,” to which the Australian responded, “You want to come here and play?”

After the match, Kyrgios was asked if the spectators deserved a better performance from him. After all, he is one of the game’s star players.

“What does that even mean? I'm good at hitting a tennis ball at the net. Big deal. I don't owe them anything. If you don't like it, I didn't ask you to come watch. Just leave,” he answered.

Kyrgios downplayed his poor play, saying his arm was “a little sore” when asked about his weak serves. He later apologised on Twitter and said there were no excuses for his lack of effort.

“Not good enough today on many levels,” the post read. “I'm better than that. I can go on about excuses but there are none. Sorry.”

The ATP fined the Canberran a total of US$16,500 (AU$21,730) for code of conduct breaches.

“After completion of the on-site investigation, Kyrgios received the on-site maximum fine of US$10,000 (AU$13,175) for Lack of Best Efforts, as well as a US$ 5,000 (AU$6,583) fine for Verbal Abuse of a Spectator, and a US$1,500 (AU$1,972) fine for Unsportsmanlike Conduct,” said the ATP in a statement.