‘To ban me was a disgrace’: Why Kyrgios ‘can’t forget’ or forgive Australia after eight-year grudge
Nick Kyrgios has made his thoughts clear on Australia and his future in the game, unloading on the Australian Olympic Committee over his 2016 ban.
The tennis star, who has been trying his hand at commentary and interviewing at this year’s Australian Open, revealed the depth of his disgust with the AOC and its former chef de mission Kitty Chiller.
He was not selected for the 2016 Rio Olympics despite being ranked No.13 in the world at the time.
“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,” Kyrgios wrote in a column in The Age.
“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 No.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.
“I won’t be putting my hand up to play in Paris this year. Eight years ago, I was desperate to represent Australia at an Olympic Games, but my mentality has changed.
“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.
“Some people are rejoicing in the fact that I’m not playing. I think the crowds and viewership at the Australian Open the past couple of years tell a different story.
“Sport is entertainment and I like to think that I’ve put on a show. But the curtain has to close at some point.”
Kyrgios, not for the first time, also wrote that he might not return to the tennis tour.
Unranked after slipping out of the world’s top 1000 following just one on tour match in 16 months, Kyrgios says he’s enjoying life as a commentator and talk show host and can see that as his fulltime future going forward.
“I sat down with my agent, Stuart Duguid, a couple of days ago to talk about my future.
“The reality is, there is a part of me that knows my time in the sport may be over. And I’m OK with that.
“It’s a conversation that needed to be had. I’m at a crossroads in my career and have reached a point where life after tennis is a prospect that excites me.
“It’s why my manager brought it up. He said, ‘This could be you from now on if you want it to be’.
“I could travel the world making really good money commentating on the sport, doing things like I am now with my talk show interviewing guys like Gordon Ramsay and Mike Tyson.”
The 28-year-old believes he’s already doing what many players would love to be doing.
“They don’t have the global reach that I do,” he said.
“Otherwise, they would be doing it too.
“Their entire world revolves around playing tennis, and that’s never been me.”
The one-time world No.13 conceded the “stars would have to align” for him to make a successful comeback after knee and wrist surgeries.
“I sit there and watch some of the players on tour and know within myself that this generation is not as strong as some of the players I have gone up against,” he said in the newspaper column.
“I know I can be one of the best in the world and win major tournaments – if my body lets me. The fire still burns, but it’s not my everything.”