Tennis star Nick Kyrgios has ended his ongoing battle with the Australian Olympic committee (AOC) and chef de mission Kitty Chiller, sensationally withdrawing himself from contention for Australia’s Rio 2016 team.
In an official statement released on Kyrgios’ website on Friday, the world No19 said that the AOC had “chosen to publicly and privately disparage” him and that despite the support of Tennis Australia, the “unfair and unjust treatment” he’d received forced him into the decision.
“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,” Kyrgios said in the statement.
“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.”
Kyrgios said that he’d received assurance from Tennis Australia that he would be nominated the team, but that the ongoing criticisms of the AOC had forced his hand. Early in May Kyrgios and potential teammate Bernard Tomic had been put on notice by Olympic boss Kitty Chiller, who’d described Tomic’s behaviour at a Madrid tournament as “appalling”. After Kyrgios reacted angrily on social media, Chiller claimed that the top-ranked tennis star “doesn’t understand what it means to be an Olympian.”
It would appear that the to-and-fro between the pair had not at any stage reached the point of an official meeting to clear the air. “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,” Kyrgios said in the statement. “I also don’t want the AOC’s treatment of me to become a distraction and negatively affect the Australian Olympic team.”
“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.”
Tennis Australia continued their supportive stance, with president Steve Healy saying, “We are very disappointed that [Kyrgios] has been put in this position.”
Later on Friday, Chiller released a statement which pointed out that regardless of Kyrgios’ withdrawing his candidacy for selection, Tennis Australia was not due to nominate selected players until 30 June. “In regard to selection every athlete in contention is treated fairly and equally,” Chiller said in the statement. “We have no further comment on this issue.”
This article was written by Russell Jackson, for theguardian.com on Friday 3rd June 2016 00.53 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010