Kyrgios' withdrawal poses questions for AOC, Chiller


Nick Kyrgios may divide opinion, but his withdrawal from selection for Rio 2016 would appear to provide some awkward questions for the Australian Olympic Committee and chef de mission Kitty Chiller.

The ongoing public battle between Australia's highest-ranked tennis star and Chiller seemingly reached its conclusion on Friday.

Kyrgios announced his withdrawal from the Games, citing "unfair and unjust treatment" by the AOC.

The 21-year-old is among several male absentees from tennis at the Olympics, including countryman Bernard Tomic.

It was Tomic's behaviour at the Madrid Open, when he tried to return serve with his racquet handle, that somehow led to Kyrgios being dragged into a conversation over player conduct.

Chiller said the duo were "on watch" - as were others, who remained unnamed.

Kyrgios was, perhaps understandably, far from impressed by those comments.

No stranger to controversy, Kyrgios has often been criticised for his behaviour on court, an insulting remark to Stan Wawrinka one of several transgressions last year.

However, a notable improvement in his conduct has followed, along with better results. Kyrgios has risen to number 19 in the world, taking the scalps of Wawrinka, Milos Raonic (twice), Tomas Berdych (twice), Richard Gasquet and Marin Cilic in 2016.

His flamboyant nature wins fans as much as it turns people against him, but the talent of the two-time grand slam quarter-finalist is unquestioned.

Chiller was happy to speak out publicly against Kyrgios and Tomic, just weeks out from a decision being made on their possible selection.

That changed on Friday after Kyrgios' decision.

"In regard to selection every athlete in contention is treated equally and fairly," is as far as Chiller would go in a statement.

If only the former modern pentathlete had opted for such caution in her previous comments.

Tennis Australia has been supportive of Kyrgios throughout and president Steve Healy responded with a strong statement.

"We are very disappointed that he has been put in this position," Healy said, at least in part acknowledging the situation.

Chiller seemed to have learned from the Kyrgios-Tomic saga when speaking about Michael Diamond, the Australian shooter charged with drink-driving and firearm offences last month.

She was unwilling to "speculate on his guilt or innocence", while we wait to hear more about Hockeyroos star Anna Flanagan apparently covering up a drink-driving charge.

So, is every athlete treated equally and fairly, or is that only true now that Kyrgios is no longer in contention?