Australian tennis star Nick Kyrgios has pulled out of the Tokyo Olympics, saying playing without a spectator “doesn’t look right”.
Kyrgios says an abdominal injury was also a factor in his withdrawal from the Games starting on July 23.
“It’s a decision I didn’t take lightly,” Kyrgios wrote on Twitter on Friday (Australia time).
Just hours before Kyrgios’ statement, Olympic organizers banned all crowds from the games amid the ongoing emergency in Tokyo due to the coronavirus.
Kyrgios asserted that his “dream” is to compete in the Olympics.
the Olympics. pic.twitter.com/ydj1V7jh2t
– Nicholas Kyrgios (@NickKyrgios) July 8, 2021
“And I know I may never get that chance again,” he wrote.
“But I know myself too. The idea of playing in front of empty stadiums didn’t work for me. It never was.”
The 26-year-old said he was also seeking treatment for an abdominal injury that forced him to retire midway through a third-round match at Wimbledon five days ago.
“I also don’t want to take the opportunity away from a healthy Australian athlete ready to represent the country,” he wrote.
“I’ll also take all the time I need to get my body right.”
After withdrawing from Wimbledon, he told the assembled media that he was unsure of his immediate playing future.
“Look, I don’t know yet about the Olympics or Atlanta. If I’m going to play the Olympics, I’ve said it a few times, I want to do it the right way. I want to do it with the fans with my guests there. I want to do it when I can watch the athletes Others doing their job. This is the Olympics for me.”
“The Olympics, the way it’s going, is not the Olympics. That’s not what it is for me. With these limitations, I don’t want to remember the Olympics if I only played once. Look, we’ll see what I’m going to do.”
The Australian tennis hierarchy will now meet to discuss replacing Kyrgios, after initially selecting 11 players, including Ash Barty and Alex de Minaur.