Rio no-show Kyrgios blames officials

SYDNEY • Australia's No. 1 tennis player Nick Kyrgios has blamed "unfair and unjust treatment" at the hands of his country's Olympic Committee for his decision to skip the Rio Games.

The world No. 19 joined Bernard Tomic in withdrawing his name from consideration yesterday, a month after Australia's chef de mission Kitty Chiller said the pair were among a number of athletes whose behaviour was being monitored.

Tomic, ranked 22nd in the world, ruled himself out in mid-May because of his busy playing schedule but Kyrgios laid the blame squarely at the door of the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC).

"It is with a heavy heart that I have had to make a decision not to compete at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro," Kyrgios said in a statement.

"Representing Australia at the Olympic Games has been a dream of mine since I was a kid ... Unfortunately, while I have expressed every intention of trying to win a medal for my country in Rio, it's very clear to me that the Australian Olympic Committee has other plans."

Kyrgios said the AOC's treatment of him over the past month had been "unfair and unjust" and it had made "crystal clear" its opposition to his being part of the Olympic team.

Tennis Australia will nominate the players to take part in the Aug 5-21 Games on June 30 but they must then be ratified by Chiller and the AOC.

"The AOC has chosen to publicly and privately disparage me," the player's statement continued. "The AOC's unwarranted attacks on me demonstrate the organisation's inability to understand the circumstances surrounding highly competitive sports."

Tennis Australia chief Steve Healy offered Kyrgios his full support yesterday and echoed the player's disappointment that "he has been put in this position".

"Nick's performances this year have improved," Healy said in a statement.

"Nick is a passionate competitor and he's working hard to learn and mature in a highly pressurised environment where he is under constant public scrutiny."


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 04, 2016, with the headline 'Rio no-show Kyrgios blames officials'. Print Edition | Subscribe