Rome - Nick Kyrgios has hit back amid
threats his behaviour and on-court demeanour could cost him a place in the
Australian squad for the Rio Olympics.
The 21-year-old, who has been put on
probation by national officials, has called Australia's Olympic team chief's
bluff over threats not to pick him and fellow tennis bad boy Bernard Tomic for
the Rio Games.
But Kyrgios warned: "If you don't want
two of the best players in Australia to represent your country, so be it.
"If you don't want to pick me or
Bernard (for the Olympics) there are plenty of others you can pick to represent
your country, as well."
His remarks at the Rome Masters came in the
wake of a stern warning from Australian Olympic Committee boss Kitty Chiller
that he and Tomic are being watched for any disciplinary problems on the ATP
circuit which might exclude them.
The pair have bad boy reputations on the
ATP, with Kyrgios seeming to be making the most efforts to improve his
The national number one is facing Milos
Raonic in the second round in Rome, while Tomic is already out.
Tomic's stock is dropping fast as his
reputation for failing to give his best effort on court continues.
His latest episodes saw him quit after just
eight minutes of his first round clash with Frenchman Benoit Paire in Rome on
Sunday claiming he had been "feeling ill all night", having turned
his raquet the wrong way around on match point in his defeat to Italian Fabio
Fognini a week earlier in Madrid.
That saw Tomic lambasted in the Australian
press with one newspaper branding him "the king of the excuse" with
"a heart the size of a peanut".
"It's not easy playing Fabio on
clay," Kyrgios said in defence of Tomic. "It's Bernard's least
preferred surface. I'm sure he competed nearly every other point in the match.
"I don't really know what he was
doing, but that one point he gets scorched for when he probably tried his heart
out the rest of the match."
Kyrgios, who is working on improving his
behaviour with the Rio Games approaching, added: "Your behaviour has to be
monitored going into the Olympics, representing your country."