MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Australian firebrand Nick Kyrgios has expressed an interest in joining his country’s Olympic team in Tokyo, four years after withdrawing from the Rio Games in controversial circumstances.
Ahead of the 2016 Rio Games, Kyrgios was involved in a war of words with Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) president John Coates and Australia’s chef de mission Kitty Chiller, accusing the AOC of “unfair and unjust treatment”.
After helping Australia reach the semi-finals at the inaugural ATP Cup this month, Kyrgios now considers himself a genuine medal contender at the Tokyo Games.
“100%… I wanted to play just as much the last time the Olympics were around,” Kyrgios told reporters after winning his Australian Open opening round match against Lorenzo Sonego on Tuesday.
“I feel like if I’m there, I’ve got a genuine shot at winning a medal, one. I’d love to be there with the other athletes representing Australia, two.
“So, yeah, I mean, I would obviously love to be there.”
Coates has claimed this week he would be “proud” to have Kyrgios as an Olympian and said he was impressed by the 24-year-old’s contribution towards Australia’s bushfire recovery efforts.
Tennis Australia will nominate a squad of four men’s and four women’s players on June 8, although the players must be in the top 56 in the world rankings. The AOC then decides if it wants to include those athletes on its Olympics roster.
(Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Hugh Lawson)