John Newcombe demanded an apology from a Twitter user who called the medal named in the Australian tennis great's honour a "teachers' pet" award.
"Whoever wrote that, that's a joke. That's an insult. They should be ashamed of themselves for saying that," Newcombe said.
Nick Kyrgios retweeted the post after being denied a shot at the award by Tennis Australia after facing disciplinary action from the ATP because of underperforming in Shanghai.
— Nick Rynne (@NickRynne) November 21, 2016
Newcombe said he was annoyed that award winner Dylan Alcott had his moment sullied.
"Dylan Alcott deserves an apology," Newcombe said.
Alcott became the first wheelchair athlete to receive Australian tennis' highest honour after defending his Australian Open crown and winning two gold medals at the Paralymics in Rio de Janeiro.
— TennisAustralia (@TennisAustralia) November 28, 2016
Newcombe was one of the judges for the award.
He said he eliminated Kyrgios as a nominee after the 21-year-old's lack of performance at the Shanghai Masters.
"When Nick got into his trouble in China, I was doing a fantasy camp at my tennis ranch in Texas," Newcombe said.
"I had Rod Laver and Roy Emerson and Fred Stolle and Owen Davidson and some of the former top American players there with the legends and we were all talking about it," he said, referring to Kyrgios' actions.
"Tennis playing is not just tennis playing. It's how you conduct yourself."
He wants Kyrgios to improve his behavior and backed his ability to rise from number 13 in the world.
"I mean, you don't have to be a goodie goodie," he said. "Look, Nick's popular when he plays. People love watching him play and I love watching him play, but you just feel let down when he lets himself down. I feel really sorry for him when he lets himself down because he's such an entertaining player to watch."
"If he gets control of emotions or whatever it is that upsets him, he's top four in the world — no problem."