Tennis Australia back bad boy Kyrgios ahead of Rio Games

Sydney (AFP) –


Tennis Australia on Friday backed controversial star Nick Kyrgios ahead of his mooted selection in Australia's team for this year's Rio Olympics.

The backing of TA President Steve Healy for the polarising Kyrgios comes after Bernard Tomic announced on Friday that he would not be available for selection for the Olympics, citing his busy playing schedule.

Australia's Olympic chef de mission Kitty Chiller has warned TA that bad behaviour will not be tolerated in Rio.

But Australia's tennis chief Healy came out in support of Kyrgios as the organisation mount a case for his selection in Australia's tennis team for the Rio Olympics.

“Since the disciplinary action taken against Nick last year he's made a concerted effort to improve his performance and behaviour, and full credit to him," Healy said in a statement.

“It’s unfortunate that he's been included unfairly in recent discussions on player behaviour that have not involved him.

“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.”

Kyrgios, 21, the world number 20, has frequently been under fire in the past for his behaviour both on and off the court.

He infamously made crude remarks last year about the girlfriend of Swiss ace Stan Wawrinka and was given a suspended 28-day ban and fined US$25,000.

Chiller has made it known that Tomic and Kyrgios were under scrutiny for their behaviour ahead of finalising Australia's team for Rio.

"I would be appalled. I would be embarrassed as a leader of the team if any of our Olympians behaved with disrespect," Chiller told reporters Friday after news of Tomic's unavailability.

Kyrgios took to social media, referring to the team boss as "that Kitty Chiller" and all but daring selectors to overlook him for Rio at a recent post-match media conference.

"We have had nothing official except for some ill advised, shall I say, comments about me and what it means to be an Olympian," Chiller said of Kyrgios's latest response.

"I think some of Nick's comments in social media have shown that maybe he doesn't understand what it means to be an Australian Olympian.

"It is not just about winning on the court - it's about how you go about it."

TA's nominations for Australia's tennis representatives at Rio are due to handed to the AOC for ratification next month.