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Nick Kyrgios Pulls Out Of Olympics, Blames AOC For 'Unjust' Treatment

Player claims the Olympic committee has run a smear campaign.

03/06/2016 10:20 AM AEST | Updated 15/07/2016 12:53 PM AEST
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Benoit Tessier / Reuters
The lengthy announcement laid plenty of blame.

Tennis player Nick Kyrgios has pulled out of the Rio Olympics, blaming the Australian Olympics Committee for treating him unfairly.

In a statement released on Friday, Kyrgios said representing Australia had been a "dream" of his since childhood, but it was clear the AOC had "other plans".

"AOC's unfair and unjust treatment of me over the last four weeks, as well as the organization's crystal clear position on whether they want me to be a part of the Australian Olympic team, has solidified my final decision.

"While I have received assurances from Tennis Australia that I will be nominated for the Olympic team, the AOC has chosen to publicly and privately disparage me.

"The AOC's unwarranted attacks on me demonstrate the organization's inability to understand the circumstances surrounding highly competitive sports.

"I also don't want the AOC's treatment of me to become a distraction and negatively affect the Australian Olympic team."

- Kyrgios' statement

Kyrgios had been involved in a war of words with chef de mission Kitty Chiller over his on-court behaviour.

Chiller had previously said the behaviour of Kyrgios and Bernard Tomic was under the microscope ahead of selection for the Australian team.

When Bernard Tomic faced a match point at a tournament in May, and disdainfully held his racket by the strings with the handle facing the opponent before boasting that he didn't care about the match point because he was "23 and worth $10 million", Chiller had seen enough.

"It goes against every value that all the Olympians live by, that we live by," she said at the time.

"It goes against everything that we've been trying to build in this team, through our ignite and aspire series and it's not something that any of our Olympic team members behave in that way."

Tomic subsequently pulled out of the Olympics on May 12, preferring to honour a prior commitment to playing a tournament in Mexico.

"I don't want anyone who doesn't want to be in our team," Chiller said in response to Tomic's decision.

"Thousands of Australians would give anything, devote their whole lives to be an Olympian and adhere to what that means. If someone doesn't see the value in that, it's their loss."

Despite these words which were clearly aimed at a wider audience than just Bernard Tomic, Kyrgios' participation in Rio was still a strong possibility at that point. He had even cleared room in his schedule to play the Olympic tournament in August.

Tennis Australia put their weight behind Kyrgios' inclusion in the Rio team, saying he would be put forward for selection. It is not clear whether the AOC was set to include Kyrgios in its 440-strong Rio team, but what's beyond question is his ongoing rift with Chiller.

"I think his comments (on social media) show maybe he doesn't really know what it means to be an Australian Olympian. It's not just about winning on the court, it is how you go about it," Chiller said after the duo's much publicised Twitter spat in May.

Chiller released a statement today saying every athlete in contention for the team was "treated equally and fairly".

This story has been updated to include the AOC response.

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