MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Two days after being named in Australia’s Olympic tennis team, Nick Kyrgios said he was “tossing up options” and may opt out of the Tokyo Games due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Kyrgios, who snubbed the 2016 Rio Games amid a feud with Australia’s chef de mission, has entered the Atlanta Open, which clashes with the Olympic tennis tournament.
“Ever since I was a player I wanted to compete at the Olympics but I’ve also entered Atlanta as well. I’m tossing up my options at the same time,” Kyrgios told reporters after beating Gianluca Mager to reach the third round at Wimbledon.
“I’ve heard some things about the Olympics that are very tough restrictions-wise. No guests, none of that stuff.”
Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said Tokyo could go ahead without crowds, which would be anathema to 26-year-old Kyrgios, who revels in entertaining courtside fans.
Kyrgios has barely played since the COVID-19 pandemic but has enjoyed an encouraging buildup to the Games at Wimbledon.
Kyrgios said he felt more embraced by Australia’s Olympic officialdom now than in the lead-in to Rio when former chef de mission Kitty Chiller sent him a 16-page letter detailing his instances of misconduct and asked him to respond before selection.
Kyrgios opted out of the Games, triggering a war of words with Chiller.
“Not having the outside noise and having Kitty Chiller tell me I don’t deserve to be there when I was number 13 in the world — I mean, it was laughable,” said Kyrgios.
“I went back and forth and I was younger back then and it got a bit personal. But it’s good not to have that outside noise.
“If I choose to play, it’s good that I feel like I’m part of the group and I’m more embraced now.
“We have a strong team but I’m just trying to get through (Wimbledon). I have a lot on my plate.”
Kyrgios plays 16th seeded Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime for a place in the fourth round.
(Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Peter Rutherford)