Canberra tennis star Nick Kyrgios, who is ranked 19th in the world and number one in Australia, has announced this morning that he will not compete at the Rio Olympics, citing “unfair and unjust treatment” of him by the Australian Olympic Committee as a key reason.
AOC chef de mission Kitty Chiller has previously said Kyrgios is “on watch” because of earlier disciplinary action taken against him by the International Tennis Federation, and expressed concerns about the potential for on-court tantrums in Rio, saying she’d be “appalled and embarrassed” by such behaviour.
Another Australian tennis star Chiller has expressed concerns about, Bernard Tomic, ruled himself out of the Olympics last month, saying he would play an ATP Tour event in Mexico instead.
In 2004, Lleyton Hewitt opted to skip the Olympics and focus on his preparation for the US Open grand slam.
Tennis players will not receive ranking points for playing at the Olympics this year.
Read Kyrgios’s statement on the decision in full:
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. Coming to this decision has been a lengthy and difficult process, and I am extremely disappointed to have been put in this unfortunate position.
Representing Australia at the Olympic Games has been a dream of mine since I was a kid. Playing in the Olympics was a goal this year; I planned my tournament schedule around Rio and made sure to fulfil my Olympic eligibility. 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.
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.
While I have received assurances from Tennis Australia that I will be nominated for the Olympic team, the AOC has chosen to publicly and privately disparage me. 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. 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.
I am grateful to Tennis Australia for standing by me through this process and nominating me for the team. I also want to thank the public and the members of the media who have voiced their support.
I am a proud Australian and have always loved representing my country. I am fortunate to be young enough to hopefully have a chance to wear the green and gold at the Olympics in the future. I hope that in four years I will find myself in the position to be a part of the Australian Olympic team.
I would like to wish every athlete representing Australia the best of luck this August and will be following their progress and supporting and cheering them from afar.