- Associated Press - Thursday, May 12, 2016

SYDNEY (AP) - Bernard Tomic ruled himself out of representing Australia at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, saying Friday that a busy playing schedule and personal circumstances were behind the decision.

Tomic’s selection was already under considerable doubt after he turned his racket around the wrong way on match point at a tournament in Madrid, and said later in an interview that he didn’t care because he was 23 and worth $10 million.

That led Australian Olympic Committee chef de mission Kitty Chiller to describe Tomic’s behavior as “appalling.”

“On the basis of an extremely busy playing schedule and my own personal circumstances, I am regrettably unable to commit,” Tomic said.

He is currently Australia’s highest-ranked men’s player at No. 24, followed by Nick Kyrgios at No. 28. With Tomic out, Sam Groth, at No. 68, is the next highest-ranked Australian singles player after Kyrgios.

“It’s his choice,” Chiller said Friday in response to Tomic’s announcement. “We don’t force anyone to take part in the Olympic Games. We only want people in our team who want to be there and prepared to abide by what that team means.”

Asked if Tomic had saved selectors the trouble of overlooking him, Chiller said: “My stance hasn’t changed. Bernard was on notice, that hasn’t changed, now that he has withdrawn now makes it irrelevant.”

Tomic confirmed he would instead play at an ATP Tour event in Los Cabos, Mexico, during the Olympics. It replaces a tournament he’s won the last two years in Bogota, Colombia, meaning he has a large number of ranking points to defend.

Kyrgios has said he’s interested in playing in Rio, but has also had on-court clashes with fellow players, officials and spectators in the past year. He also poked fun at Chiller on social media when she put him and Tomic on notice over their behavior on and off the court.

Later Friday, Tennis Australia president Steve Healy issued a statement supporting Kyrgios.

“It’s unfortunate that he’s been included unfairly in recent discussions on player behavior that have not involved him,” Healy said. “His performances this year have been markedly improved and it’s obvious he’s showing more maturity.

“Only world No.1 Novak Djokovic has beaten more top 10 players than Nick this year. Nick deserves the opportunity to concentrate on his tennis without any additional distractions.”

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times is switching its third-party commenting system from Disqus to Spot.IM. You will need to either create an account with Spot.im or if you wish to use your Disqus account look under the Conversation for the link "Have a Disqus Account?". Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide