Kyrgios defends Tomic as he hits back at Australian Olympic boss


If Australia decide not to take maligned tennis players Bernard Tomic and Nick Kyrgios to the Olympic Games "so be it", according to the latter.

Australian Olympic team chef de mission Kitty Chiller put the pair on notice ahead of Rio 2016 after Tomic sparked outrage at the Madrid Open last week, when he held the head of his racquet instead of the handle on match point in his loss to Fabio Fognini.

Tomic's response to suggestions of tanking - "would you care if you were 23 and worth over $10million?" - appalled Chiller, who warned the world number 22 along with fellow controversial figure Kyrgios to behave or forget about taking part at the Games in Rio de Janeiro.

But Kyrgios hit back at Chiller, while defending Tomic, who retired just eight minutes into his first-round match at the Internazionali d'Italia on Sunday.

"If you don't want to pick me or Bernard, you know, there are plenty of others you can pick to represent your country as well," Kyrgios said following his win over Salvatore Caruso in Rome on Monday.

"If you don't want two of the best players in Australia to represent your country, so be it."

While acknowledging behaviour would be a factor in the duo's selection for the Olympics, Kyrgios added: "But at the same time I think, with Bernard's case with that match point - I mean, it's not easy playing Fabio [Fognini] on clay. It's Bernard's least preferred surface.

"I'm sure he competed nearly every other point in the match. I don't really know what he was doing, but that one point he gets scorched for when he probably tried his heart out the rest of the match."