Kyrgios withdraws from Olympic consideration for Australia
Nick Kyrgios withdrew his name from consideration for Australia's tennis team for the Olympics on Friday, citing ''unfair and unjust treatment'' by national Olympic officials.
Kyrgios and Bernard Tomic, who also withdrew from the Olympic tournament in Rio de Janeiro in August, were placed on notice by Australian team chef de mission Kitty Chiller last month after a number of behavioral issues on and off the court.
It means the country's two highest-ranked male tennis players won't be competing for Australia, a nation rich in Olympic history and which loves its sport.
Kyrgios, who earlier joked about Chiller's threat on social media, said in a statement Friday that although he still had the backing of Tennis Australia and would have been nominated for Rio, ''it's very clear to me that the Australian Olympic Committee has other plans.''
''AOC's unfair and unjust treatment of me over the last four weeks, as well as the organization's crystal-clear position on whether they want me to be a part of the Australian Olympic team, has solidified my final decision,'' Kyrgios said. ''It is with a heavy heart that I have had to make a decision not to compete.''
The 21-year-old Kyrgios, who has regularly verbally abused umpires, opponents and spectators, thanked Tennis Australia for its support, but said he regretted not receiving support from Olympic officials.
''Not one member of the AOC has reached out to me, my family, my team, or representatives of Tennis Australia, asking for a meeting or the opportunity to discuss their concerns,'' he said. ''The AOC's unwarranted attacks on me demonstrate the organization's inability to understand the circumstances surrounding highly competitive sports. I also don't want the AOC's treatment of me to become a distraction and negatively affect the Australian Olympic team.''
Tennis Australia last month indicated it planned to nominate the 19th-ranked Kyrgios for Rio.
On Friday, TA again threw its support behind Kyrgios, saying ''we understand Nick's decision and totally support him and his right to make it. But we are very disappointed that he has been put in this position.''
''As we've said recently Nick's performances this year have improved. His growing maturity is reflected in his on court performance, with only world No. 1 Novak Djokovic defeating more top 10 players than Nick has this year.''
The national tennis federation has until late June to nominate its team for Rio. Chiller said last month that the national body could only nominate players of ''good standing'' within their sport, adding that the AOC has the final word on team selection.
In a statement Friday, Chiller said: ''In regard to selection, every athlete in contention is treated equally and fairly. We have no further comment on this issue.''`
After Chiller's initial warning to Kyrgios and Tomic, Kyrgios made light of it via social media, referring to the team boss as `that Kitty Chiller' and all but daring selectors to overlook him.
Chiller replied then by saying: ''I think some of Nick's comments in social media have shown that maybe he doesn't understand what it means to be an Australian Olympian.''
Kyrgios' withdrawal leaves French Open semifinalist and former U.S. Open champion Samantha Stosur as Australia's best medal hope in Rio.
With Kyrgios and Tomic gone from the men's team, No. 61 John Millman and No. 94 Jordan Thompson are next in line to represent Australia, although their participation is not guaranteed pending ranking qualification.