Australia wants their athletes to be in their best behavior in representing them in international competitions and that is why their chef de mission to the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics has sent a stern warning to their tennis stars Bernard Tomic and Nick Kyrgios to shape up their attitudes or be left behind.
Australian team’s chef de mission Kitty Chiller tells Reuters that the two tennis stars have a history of abusing opponents, umpires and fans. Chiller does not want any of those attitudes in the coming Olympics and the pair should remembers that they are also considered as Ambassadors to other athletes. Of the two, Chiller is more concern over Tomic, who drew heavy criticism against his match against Fabio Fognini in the first round of the Madrid Open wherein he lost, 6-2, 6-4.
Fognini was on match point and serving when Tomic just held his racket by the strings and did not offer a shot to the Italian’s serve.
“I think it was appalling behavior. It goes against every value that all the Olympians live by, it goes against everything that we’ve been trying to build in this team. It is not behavior that I would want any team member in a team that I’m responsible for to exhibit,” Chiller said.
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When asked by journalist about his action during the match, Tomic answered, “Would you care if you were 23 and worth over $10 million?”
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Chiller explained that all athletes bound for the Olympics will be under scrutiny if they showcase behaviors that adhere to the Olympic spirit of fair play and sportsmanship. She added that the Australian Olympic Committee has the final say as to who will be part of the delegation.
This was not the first time Tomic was under fire for his behavior, following his loss to top seed Novak Djokovic at the 2015 Wimbledon Championships, Tomic ranted against Tennis Australia namely Craig Tiley, Pat Rafter and Steve Healy. Tomic was angry from a lack of support, respect and funding for both him and his sister, Sara. As a result, Tennis Australia dropped Tomic from Australia’s Davis Cup team for their Quarter Final tie against Kazakhstan.
As for Kyrgios, he had a history with Switzerland’s Stan Wawrinka during a match at the 2015 Rogers Cup wherein the 21-year old Aussie allegedly sledge Wawrinka. During a court change Kyrgios told Wawrinka, “Kokkinakis banged your girlfriend, sorry to tell you that mate”.
Microphones also picked up Kyrgios saying under his breath that Wawrinka, 30, is “banging 18-year-olds”. After the match, Wawrinka stated he found the comments “unacceptable” and urged action to be taken against Kyrgios.
Kyrgios was fined $10,000 by the ATP and stated he had apologized to Wawrinka, although this was later denied by Wawrinka himself. Following a review, the ATP handed down a 28-day suspended sentence and a $25,000 fine if he is fined for “verbal or physical abuse” during suspension period.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Tennis Australia has until June to submit their nominations of players they have selected to see action in the Olympics which will be from Aug. 5 to 21 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Both Kyrgios and Tomic are said to be Australia’s bets chances of getting a medal in their sport as they are ranked no. 21 and 22, respectively.
“It’s their responsibility to determine whether it’s appropriate to nominate them. If any athlete from any sport is nominated, we look at everything … including behavior, including the disrepute clause. We have the ability to take that into consideration whether we proceed to select the nomination or not,” Chiller added.
Chiller added that they are in close communication with Tennis Australia officials regarding the matter and the Australian Olympic Committee will convene to assess the said situation. Both Tomic and Kyrgios have been eliminated from the Madrid Open in the Singles Division.
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