Australian tennis star Nick Kyrgios has been pulled out of the Olympics in Tokyo and says playing without spectators “does not feel right.”
Kyrgios says a stomach ache was also a factor in his withdrawal from the Games, which starts on July 23rd.
“It’s a decision I did not take lightly,” Kyrgios posted on Twitter on Friday (Australian time).
A few hours before Kyrgios’ statement, Olympic organizers banned all crowds from the Games in the middle of Tokyo’s ongoing state of emergency due to coronavirus.
Kyrgios maintained that it was his “dream” to compete in an Olympics.
– Nicholas Kyrgios (@NickKyrgios) July 8, 2021
“And I know I may never get that opportunity again,” he wrote.
“But I know myself too. The idea of playing in front of empty stadiums just doesn’t sit well with me. It never did.”
The 26-year-old said he was also seeking treatment for a stomach ache that forced him to retire midway through a third-round match at Wimbledon five days ago.
“I also do not want to take an opportunity away from a healthy Aussie athlete who is ready to represent the country,” he wrote.
“I also want to take all the time I need to get my body in order.”
After his withdrawal from Wimbledon, he told the media that he was unsure of his immediate playing future.
“Look, I do not know about the Olympics or Atlanta right now. If I have to play the Olympics, I have said it several times, I want to do it the right way. I want to do it with full crowds, with my guests there. I “I want to do it when I can see other athletes do their thing. It’s the Olympics for me,” he said.
“The Olympics, the way it will continue, is not the Olympics. That’s not what it is for me. With these limitations, it’s not the way I want to remember the Olympics if I just play it once. We will see. We get to see what I do. “
Australia’s tennis hierarchy is now meeting to discuss a replacement for Kyrgios, having first selected 11 players, including Ash Barty and Alex de Minaur.