Tennis Australia stands by Kyrgios following Olympics withdrawal


Tennis Australia (TA) has thrown its support behind Nick Kyrgios after he made himself unavailable for the Olympic Games, with the governing body "very disappointed" the nation's top-ranked player was forced into the position by the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC).

After a month of clashing publicly with AOC chef de mission Kitty Chiller over concerns regarding his behaviour, world number 19 Kyrgios decided to withdraw from August's Games in Rio de Janeiro on Friday.

Kyrgios cited the AOC's "unfair and unjust treatment" of him, having been placed under the spotlight following countryman Bernard Tomic's controversial actions at last month's Internazionali d'Italia, where he held the head of the racquet instead of the handle on match point, before responding by saying "would you care if you were 23 and worth $10million?".

Tomic later ruled himself out of the upcoming Olympics.

And TA leapt to the defence of 21-year-old Kyrgios, praising his improved behaviour on the ATP Tour circuit, after a controversial 2015.

"We understand Nick's decision and totally support him and his right to make it," TA president Steve Healy said in a statement. 

"But we are very disappointed that he has been put in this position.

"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.

"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 number one Novak Djokovic defeating more top ten players than Nick has this year.

"He has received support from a lot of other tennis players and athletes.

"But now Nick has made this difficult decision we should let him focus on his tennis without further distraction."

Chiller also released a statement of her own via the AOC's official website, which read: "According to his website, Nick Kyrgios, has made himself unavailable for selection on the 2016 Australian Olympic Team.

"Tennis Australia is due to nominate athletes to the AOC for selection on the 30th of June.

"The International Tennis Federation [ITF] rankings are released on June 6th.  On the 9th of June the ITF will inform the AOC of eligible players.

"Tennis Australia will identify athletes for selection based on these rankings.

"At this point, Nick Kyrgios, or any other tennis athlete, has not been nominated for selection on the Australian Olympic Team.

"In regard to selection every athlete in contention is treated equally and fairly.

"We have no further comment on this issue."