Wimbledon tennis player Nick Kyrgios was the target of an alleged racist comment from a BBC commentator. John Inverdale likened the Australian tennis player to a character from The Jungle Book.

After the 21-year-old's defeat by Andy Murray at the Wimbledon Championships, Inverdale described Kyrgios as lumbering off "like a character from The Jungle Book". The Rudyard Kipling novel is about a feral child or "man cub", raised by a pack of wolves since birth in the Indian jungle.

Kyrgios is the son of a Greek father and a Malaysian mother. He was born in Canberra, Australia.

The sports commentator's remarks sparked complaints on social media, with tweets condemning Inverdale as "disgraceful". There were also calls for the BBC to censure him. "Casual racism there – BBC, sort it out."

Last year, Australian commentator Dawn Fraser apologised for saying Kyrgios should "go back to where their parents came from", after she attacked his attitude when he was beaten by Richard Gasquet.

Fraser excused her comments by saying: "My intended message, which was not delivered as articulately as it could have been – was on a purely sporting level rather than meant as an attack on Nick's ethnicity."

A small number of complaints were received by the BBC, but the corporation did not confirm whether Inverdale would be spoken to.

Kyrgios, the world Number 18 said he was a victim of racist abuse "more than you think" and also had to deal with some "early morning racism", according to the Sydney Morning Herald. Kyrgios received a tweet in May referring to his Greek heritage.

Serena Williams, the world number one and winner of seven Wimbledon singles titles has long been the target of racist attacks. One Twitter user wrote that the tennis player "looks like a gorilla, and sounds like a gorilla when she grunts while hitting the ball. In conclusion, she is a gorilla".

Shamil Tarpischev, the Russian Tennis Federation president was suspended and fined for calling the world No 1 and her sister Venus the "Williams brothers".

Serena Williams hit back, saying: "I thought they were very insensitive and extremely sexist as well as racist at the same time.

"I think a lot of people weren't happy as well… but the WTA and the USTA did a wonderful job of making sure that in this day and age, 2014, for someone with his power, it's really unacceptable to make such bullying remarks."