Nick Kyrgios has pulled out of the Rotterdam Open in February so he can play in the NBA all-star celebrity game instead, tournament director Richard Krajicek confirmed on Wednesday.
Kyrgios was suspended for eight weeks on Monday for a perceived lack of effort during the Shanghai Masters last week. The Australian clashed with fans and the chair umpire, and walked off court in the middle of a point.
The 21-year-old had signed up to play in the tournament in Holland next year, but Krajicek said Kyrgios had been released from his contract so he can take part in the NBA’s mid-season showpiece in New Orleans.
“Kyrgios is a big NBA fan and the chance to be on the court with Michael Jordan is unique for him,” Kraijcek said in a statement. “We do not think it makes much sense to have him on our court if he is not 100% motivated. With a field which already includes [Stan] Wawrinka, [Rafael] Nadal, [Dominic] Thiem and [Robin] Haase, we think we have enough quality on show.”
“Kyrgios prefers his passion beyond his profession,” Krajicek added. “We wanted to hold him to his contract. You see what can happen when he is tired and [tennis] has little meaning, as in China. We do not want that. So we decided to terminate his contract. We want a top tennis player seen on the court.
“If every week he is focused on tennis, he might be mentally burned out after six months. He needs an outlet.”
The ATP said it would consider reducing Kyrgios’s eight-week penalty if he agreed to see a sports psychologist. However, if the ATP’s conditions are not met, Kyrgios will not be allowed to return to the court until the Australian Open in January. Kyrgios took part in a Twitter Q&A on Wednesday morning. When asked if he intended to meet with a psychologist, Kyrgios replied: “Probs not.”
The player posted a lengthy apology online after his behaviour in Shanghai, which came days after he won the Japan Open, the third and biggest title of his career.
He said: “I, of course, know how important the fans are to the success of our sport and I personally love the interaction with fans in the many different cities throughout the world on the tennis circuit. I am someone who gives a huge amount of time to my fans because I love and value their support. Their energy is what motivates me to reach for the top of the game. I regret that my year is ending this way and that I will not have a chance to continue chasing the ATP Finals.”
Krajicek, who won Wimbledon in 1996, has added US Open champion Wawrinka to the Rotterdam field in place of Kyrgios.
This article was written by Guardian sport, for theguardian.com on Wednesday 19th October 2016 20.27 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010