July 5 (Reuters) - The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) wants Nick Kyrgios to compete at the Tokyo Games but will respect his decision if he pulls out following his injury exit from Wimbledon, chef de mission Ian Chesterman said.
Kyrgios was forced to quit his third-round Wimbledon clash against Felix Auger-Aliassime after two sets due to an abdominal injury on Saturday.
The 26-year-old was already undecided about going to the Tokyo Games due to COVID-19 restrictions, saying he was “tossing up options”.
“We have to acknowledge it’s been a very difficult lead-up for all athletes. We’d still love to see Nick over at these Games,” Chesterman told reporters on Monday.
“He knows he’s welcome at these Games and I would still think it’d be a fantastic outcome for tennis and our team if he was there.
“But I understand and respect his decision, whichever way he goes. Because the Games are different. People have to believe they can perform under these different circumstances, so Nick will make his own decisions and we’ll respect that.”
In the lead-up to the 2016 Rio Games, Australia’s former chef de mission Kitty Chiller criticised Kyrgios for his public demeanour and warned him to smarten up or miss out on the Games.
Kyrgios withdrew from the team due to what he said was “unfair and unjust treatment” by the AOC.
The Tokyo Games, delayed last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, will begin on July 23. (Reporting by Manasi Pathak in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford )