Tennis bad boy Nick Kyrgios has had his contract to compete at next year’s ATP Tour event in Rotterdam cancelled so he can take part in the NBA All-Star weekend.
The Australian, who is currently suspended from the tour after failing to give his best effort in a match in Shanghai last week, had committed to the ABN Amro tournament in February.
But tournament director Richard Krajicek has agreed to cancel his contract so the basketball fan can play in a celebrity match on February 19, the same day as the final in Rotterdam.
The latest controversy of Kyrgios’ chequered career came during his second-round match in China last week against Mischa Zverev.
The 21-year-old was involved in heated exchanges with the umpire and a fan and rolled in serves on his way to a 6-3 6-1 loss.
The ATP responded by suspending Kyrgios for eight weeks and fining him $US41,500 ($AU53,000)
Krajicek, the 1996 Wimbledon champion, has some sympathy, telling the Nederlandse Omroep Stichting: “We wanted to hold him to his contract.
“You see what can happen when he is tired and (tennis) has little meaning, as in China. We do not want that.
“So we decided to terminate his contract. We want a top tennis player seen on the court. Kyrgios prefers his passion beyond his profession.
“If every week he is focused on tennis, he might be mentally burned out after six months. He needs an outlet.”
Kyrgios’ ban will be reduced to three weeks if he enters a plan of care under the direction of a sports psychologist.
The Australian was unrepentant in his press conference immediately after the match but, following the announcement of the ban, released a statement apologising for his behaviour.
Tennis Australia announced Kyrgios had agreed to the plan but doubt was raised when the player responded to a question on Twitter about whether he would follow that course of action with the answer: “Probs not.”
The tweet was later deleted and Press Association Sport understands Kyrgios’ commitment to the program currently still stands.