SYDNEY (Reuters) - Bernard Tomic and Nick Kyrgios have been told their behavior must improve or they could find themselves on the sidelines rather than center court at the Rio Olympics, according to the Australian team’s chef de mission.
Tomic has drawn heavy criticism this week following his exit from the Madrid Open when, on match point against Fabio Fognini, he held the racquet by the strings and did not offer a shot to the Italian’s serve.
The 23-year-old, who was nicknamed ‘Tomic the Tank Engine’ after accusations he ‘tanked’ -- or failed to try his best -- in a loss to Andy Roddick at the 2012 U.S. Open, then told a News Corp. journalist who questioned his actions in Madrid “would you care if you were 23 and worth over $10 million?”
”I think it was appalling behavior,“ Chiller told reporters in Sydney after the Australian Olympic Committee’s AGM. ”It goes against every value that all the Olympians live by, it goes against everything that we’ve been trying to build in this team.
“It is not behavior that I would want any team member in a team that I‘m responsible for to exhibit.”
Chiller said both Tomic and Kyrgios, who has a history of abusing opponents, umpires and fans, were just two of the potential Rio Games athletes who were being monitored for their behavior.
“Every athlete is under the microscope now,” Chiller added.
“There’s a few athletes that are on watch and those two names are among them.”
Tennis Australia nominates the athletes they want to include for Olympic selection and with Kyrgios ranked 21st and Tomic 22nd in the world, the duo are likely to head their picks for the Aug. 5-21 Olympics in Rio.
Tennis Australia are obliged to nominate athletes of ‘good standing’, Chiller said. The Australian Olympic Committee has the final say on selections.
”It’s their responsibility to determine whether it’s appropriate to nominate them,“ Chiller added. ”If any athlete from any sport is nominated, we look at everything ... including behavior, including the disrepute clause.
“We have the ability to take that into consideration whether we proceed to select the nomination or not.”
Reporting by Greg Stutchbury in Wellington; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty