Kyrgios to snub ATP event for NBA weekend
Photo Source: AP
Tennis bad boy Nick Kyrgios has had his contract to compete at next year's ATP Tour event in Rotterdam cancelled so he can take part in the NBA All-Star weekend.
The Australian, who is currently suspended from the tour after failing to give his best effort in a match in Shanghai last week, had committed to the ABN Amro tournament in February.
But tournament director Richard Krajicek has agreed to cancel his contract so the basketball fan can play in a celebrity match on February 19, the same day as the final in Rotterdam.
The latest controversy of Kyrgios' chequered career came during his second-round match in China last week against Mischa Zverev.
The 21-year-old was involved in heated exchanges with the umpire and a fan and rolled in serves on his way to a 6-3 6-1 loss.
The ATP responded by suspending Kyrgios for eight weeks and fining him $US41,500 ($AU53,000)
"We wanted to hold him to his contract," Krajicek said.
"You see what can happen when he is tired and (tennis) has little meaning, as in China. We do not want that.
"So we decided to terminate his contract. We want a top tennis player seen on the court. Kyrgios prefers his passion beyond his profession.
"If every week he is focused on tennis, he might be mentally burned out after six months. He needs an outlet."
Kyrgios' ban will be reduced to three weeks if he enters a plan of care under the direction of a sports psychologist.
American great Jimmy Connors on Thursday put his hand up to mentor the wayward Australian and help get his career back on track.
The 64-year-old Connors, a famous firebrand through a long career boasting eight grand slam titles, made his approach on Twitter.
"Kyrgios-- you want to be the best-- come see me-- you will learn to play, excite, and to win!! It's you choice-- or just be mediocre! gd luck," Connors tweeted.
Connors previously served a 19-month stint as coach for compatriot Andy Roddick from 2006 to 2008, guiding the grand slam winner to a US Open final and five ATP titles.
However, his last high-profile coaching gig, with Maria Sharapova in 2013, was over as soon as it began, the Russian former world No.1 firing him after one match.