'Doesn't sit right': Kyrgios' bombshell Olympic announcement

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Nick Kyrgios is pictured here during one of his matches at Wimbledon.
Nick Kyrgios says competing in the upcoming Olympics doesn't sit right with him. Pic: Getty

Nick Kyrgios has explained his reason for pulling out of the Tokyo Olympic Games after taking to social media to officially confirm his withdrawal from Australia's team.

The 26-year-old, who recently withdrew from his third round match at Wimbledon with an abdominal injury, says playing in Tokyo without spectators "doesn't feel right" with him.

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His decision comes after Olympic organisers banned all crowds from the Games amid Tokyo's ongoing state of emergency due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Kyrgios says his injury was also a factor in withdrawing from the Games which start on July 23.

Making his announcement on Twitter on Friday, Kyrgios said the decision to pull out of the Games was one he thought long and hard about.

"It's a decision I didn't take lightly," Kyrgios posted.

However, he maintained that it was his "dream" to one day compete at an Olympics - just not under the current circumstances facing athletes in Tokyo.

"And I know I may never get that opportunity again," he wrote.

"But I also know myself. The thought of playing in front of empty stadiums just doesn't sit right with me. It never has."

Kyrgios raised doubts about his participation earlier in the week after a social media post revealed his upcoming schedule which had a tournament in Atlanta pencilled in that runs at the same time as the Games.

He also explained to reporters at Wimbledon why the Olympics in Tokyo didn't overly appeal to him.

“If I’m to play the Olympics I wanna do it the right way,” Kyrgios said.

“I wanna do it with full crowds, with my guests there. I want to do it when I’m able to watch other athletes do their thing. That’s the Olympics for me.

“The Olympics, the way it’s going to go on, is not the Olympics.”

Injury also behind Kyrgios' decision

The 26-year-old said he was also seeking treatment for an abdominal injury which forced him to retire midway through a third-round match at Wimbledon five days ago.

"I also wouldn't want to take an opportunity away from a healthy Aussie athlete ready to represent the country," he posted.

"I will also take all the time I need to get my body right."

Australian Olympic officials had earlier in the week urged Kyrgios to commit to the Tokyo Games but understood his reservations to do so.

Australia's tennis hierarchy will now meet to discuss a replacement for Kyrgios, after initially selecting 11 players including Ash Barty and Alex de Minaur.

Kyrgios was among an 11-strong Australian team, led by World No.1 Barty, announced last week.

Before retiring during his third round Wimbledon clash, the Aussie firebrand told reporters he had also entered a tournament in Atlanta running at the same time as the Olympics.

Seen here, the Nick Kyrgios note that all but confirmed his intention to play in Atlanta rather than the Olympics.
Nick Kyrgios' note all but confirmed his intention to play in Atlanta rather than the Olympics. Image: Getty/Instagram

"I'm tossing up my options at the same time. I've heard some things about the Olympics, that are very tough, restrictions wise," he said. "No guests, none of that stuff."

Australian chef de mission Ian Chesterman encouraged Kyrgios to be part of their 472-strong contingent, but said he respected whatever decision the Aussie made.

"We'd still love to see Nick over at these Games. He knows he's welcome at these Games and I would still think it'd be a fantastic outcome for tennis and our team if he was there," he said via a Zoom call.

"But I understand and respect his decision, whichever way he goes.

"People have to believe they can perform under these different circumstances, so Nick will make his own decisions and we'll respect that. We have to acknowledge it's been a very difficult lead up for all athletes."

Chesterman's tone was markedly different to his predecessor in 2016 Kitty Chiller, who engaged in a public slanging match with Kyrgios ahead of the Rio Olympics, which he ultimately opted not to play.

with agencies

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