Advantage, Kitty Chiller.
The ball is back in Nick Kyrgios’ court if he wants to go to Rio in the wake of Bernard Tomic’s withdrawal, with Chiller claiming he doesn’t understand what it means to be an Australian Olympian.
Chiller – the Australian Olympic team boss – would not speculate on whether world No.22 Tomic had beaten selectors to the punch by ruling himself out of the Games on Friday.
But she made it clear what she thought of Kyrgios, saying she would be appalled if anyone repeated his on-court antics at an Olympics.
Asked if Australia risked potential embarrassment if they picked the world No.20, Chiller said: “I would be appalled, I would be embarrassed as a leader of the team if any of our Olympians behaved with disrespect.”
Tomic and Kyrgios were placed on notice by Chiller last week after a raft of behavioural issues on and off the court.
Kyrgios made light of it via social media, referring to the team boss as “that Kitty Chiller” and all but daring selectors to overlook him for Rio at a recent post-match press conference.
“We have had nothing official except for some ill advised, shall I say, comments about me and what it means to be an Olympian,” she said of Kyrgios’ response.
“I think some of Nick’s comments in social media have shown that maybe he doesn’t understand what it means to be an Australian Olympian.
“It is not just about winning on the court, it’s about how you go about it.”
Tomic’s selection was under a cloud after he deliberately gave up a match point at a Madrid tournament, saying he didn’t care because he was 23 and worth $10 million.
Tomic said he based his decision to withdraw from Rio on what was best for his career.
“It’s his choice. We only want people in our team who want to be there and prepared to abide by what that team means,” Chiller said.
Asked if Tomic had saved selectors the trouble of snubbing him, Chiller said: “That’s irrelevant now.
“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 then that’s their loss.”
Tomic will bypass Rio to play at an ATP World Tour tournament in Los Cabos, Mexico.
The event has replaced a Bogota tournament Tomic has won the past two years, meaning he will be defending significant rankings points.
“It is extremely unfortunate that the date of the tournament has changed this year to clash with the Olympics in Rio,” Tomic said.
“I had made a commitment to the tournament’s organisers to defend my title before I knew that the date changed.”