Nick Kyrgios said he would not represent Australia at the Paris Olympics this year even if he is fit because of the way he was treated ahead of the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
The 28-year-old former Wimbledon finalist also made himself unavailable for consideration for the Rio Games after Chef de Mission Kitty Chiller said his behaviour was being monitored ahead of team selection.
“One thing I will guarantee, though, is that if I am fit and ready to play, I won’t be making myself available for the Olympics,” he wrote in a column in Fairfax newspapers.
“The way I was treated by the Australian Olympic Committee and former Chef de Mission Kitty Chiller will never be forgotten.
“To ban me from playing at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games was a disgrace. I was number 13 at the time and had a genuine chance at winning a medal.
“For them to forbid me from representing my country for behavioural reasons is something that I just can’t forget.”
Kyrgios has struggled with knee, foot and wrist injuries since pulling out of last year’s Australian Open at the 11th hour and has played only one tour match since the Japan Open in October 2022.
In his absence from court, Kyrgios has started building a media career and on Tuesday made his debut as an on-court interviewer at the Australian Open, chatting with his friend Novak Djokovic after the world number one’s quarter-final.
Kyrgios said last month that he would play on for two more seasons at best and on Wednesday wrote he was looking forward to continuing the media work after retirement.
The winner of seven ATP Tour titles, Kyrgios has had a chequered relationship with his fellow Australians.
His on-court histrionics and frequent disciplinary issues alienated many fans and was the reason behind Chiller’s caution in 2016 as she looked to clean up team culture after a scandal involving the swimming team at the 2012 Olympics in London.
“Eight years ago, I was desperate to represent Australia at an Olympic Games, but my mentality has changed,” Kyrgios added.
“I wanted to play for my country, I can’t say that I still have that desire. And let’s be honest, I haven’t exactly felt like Australia has wanted me to represent it either. I’ve said before, I often feel more at home away from home.”
Former Olympic cyclist Anna Meares has been appointed by the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) as Chef de Mission of the team for the Paris Games.
“The AOC has high regard for Nick Kyrgios as an Australian athlete of great ability,” an AOC spokesperson said on Wednesday.
“Every athlete is entitled to make their own decisions about their playing futures and those decisions are respected.” — Reuters.