Australian tennis star Nick Kyrgios has pulled out of the Tokyo Olympics, indicating he was not motivated to play in empty arenas due to the coronavirus.
Kyrgios indicated he was carrying minor health issues which he would work on while resting from the Games.
The 26-year-old tweeted: “It’s a decision I didn’t make lightly. It’s been my dream to represent Australia at the Olympics and I know I may never get that opportunity again.
— Nicholas Kyrgios (@NickKyrgios) July 8, 2021
“But I also know myself. The thought of playing in front of empty stadiums just doesn’t sit right with me. It never has.”
Olympic organisers have banned crowds from all venues in and around Tokyo for the Games, which start on July 23rd, amid the capital’s state of emergency due to the pandemic. Stadiums in the areas of Fukushima, Miyagi and Shizuoka will be allowed 50 per cent capacity, or up to 10,000 people.
Kyrgios added: “I also wouldn’t want to take an opportunity away from a healthy Aussie athlete ready to represent the country,”” he posted. “I will also take all the time I need to get my body right.”
The world No 60 retired after two sets of his Wimbledon third-round match with Felix Auger-Aliassime last Saturday citing an abdominal injury.
Australian Olympic officials were expected to meet to discuss a replacement for Kyrgios. The country originally selected 11 tennis players for the Games, including women’s world No 1 Ash Barty.
The Wimbledon final-bound Barty was one of the first players to withdraw from last year’s US Open amid some of the more critical months of the pandemic in that country.
She has previously said she is committed to representing Australia in Tokyo, although that came before officials called the city’s ongoing state of emergency.