Kyrgios to skip Rotterdam for NBA event

Australian tennis hothead Nick Kyrgios will skip next year's Rotterdam Open to play an NBA basketball event, organisers said, questioning whether he was "100 percent motivated" after an on-court meltdown in Shanghai.

Kyrgios had previously said that he dislikes tennis and prefers basketball.   -  AP

Australian tennis hothead Nick Kyrgios will skip next year's Rotterdam Open to play an NBA basketball event, organisers said, questioning whether he was "100 percent motivated" after an on-court meltdown in Shanghai.

Kyrgios, 21, was due to appear at the ATP 500 Rotterdam in February but organisers released him from his contract so he can play the NBA All Star Weekend in New Orleans instead.

It comes after Kyrgios was fined and received a three-week ban — rising to eight weeks if he doesn't seek help to curb his temper — for giving up on points, swearing and arguing with fans and the chair umpire in Shanghai.

"We could hold him to his word, but we think it does not make much sense to put him on as he is not 100 percent motivated," tournament director and former player Richard Krajicek said in an official statement.

Krajicek also told a Dutch news website that organisers wanted to see a "top player on court". "We did it because you saw what happened in China when he was tired and (tennis) has little meaning. Kyrgios prefers his passion over his profession," nos.nl cited him as saying.

"He is doing the right thing because he gets crazy if he only thinks about tennis for six months."

Kyrgios has frequently courted controversy since turning pro in 2013. Last year he received a suspended one-month ban for making a lewd comment about Stan Wawrinka's girlfriend.

He has also said he dislikes playing tennis, insisting that he prefers basketball.

Earlier this week the world number 14 indicated he wanted to play fewer tournaments in 2017. During a question and answer session on Twitter, when asked what his goals were for next year, Kyrgios replied: "More time off."

Kyrgios was also asked if he enjoyed playing tennis, to which he said: "lol".

Connors a Kyrgios choice as coach for hothead talent

American tennis great Jimmy Connors has put his hand up for one of the toughest coaching assignments in the world by offering to mentor Australia's wayward talent Nick Kyrgios.

The 64-year-old Connors, a famous firebrand through a long career boasting eight grand slam titles, fittingly made his approach on Twitter, a medium favoured highly by the moody 21-year-old, recently banned from the tour for two months.

“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 U.S. 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 number one firing him after a single match.

Kyrgios and Connors might seem a perfect match in some ways, with both having won applause for their tennis and showmanship, and drawn condemnation for their boorish behaviour on and off the court.

But simply pinning down world number 14 Kyrgios may be beyond even the powers of the man nicknamed 'The Brash Basher of Belleville' by Bud Collins, the late Hall of Fame journalist and broadcaster.

Kyrgios, now serving a minimum three-week ban for misconduct at the Shanghai Masters, has said he is content to fly solo and reckoned his questionable work ethic might not appeal to the tour's top coaches.

“One week I'm pretty motivated to train and play,” he said at Wimbledon.

“One week I'll just not do anything. I don't really know a coach out there that would be pretty down for that one.”

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