Saturday, November 28, 2020 11:38:35 AM
The director of the Brisbane International said Wednesday he would welcome Nick Kyrgios to his tournament with "genuine enthusiasm" even after the mercurial star stormed off court at the Shanghai Masters.
"I know the fans are going to come out to see him play, to see his incredible, special brand of tennis," said Brisbane director Geoff Quinlan.
He spoke the day after Kyrgios, ranked 21st in the world, abruptly exited midway through his opening match in Shanghai, just two days after a high-profile meltdown in the China Open final.
Kyrgios apologised for Tuesday's incident, saying he had been unwell.
The ATP Tour is investigating the case, with fears the 22-year-old Australian could be suspended-a punishment that was meted out last year following an outburst by him at the same tournament.
Quinlan said he had not been told about any changes to Kyrgios' scheduled participation in the competition, to be held from December 31 to January 7. "It's really too early to comment. I haven't had any official word," Quinlan told reporters.
"I've got genuine enthusiasm and excitement to have him here. I can't wait for him to come."
Defending champions Grigor Dimitrov from Bulgaria and the Czech Republic's Karolina Pliskova are set to return to the tournament.
World number one Rafael Nadal, who defeated Kyrgios in the China Open final, and Andy Murray, ranked third, will also kick off their Australian Open preparations in Brisbane.
Quinlan said "yup, there has" when asked if there had been contact between the tournament and Serena Williams, who gave birth last month.
"Serena is more than welcome. The door is wide open," he added. "It'll be amazing, there's no denying that."
Australian Open organisers said Tuesday they were hopeful of a stunning return by defending champion Williams, who won the contest this year while pregnant.
The first Grand Slam of the year will be held at Melbourne Park from January 15 to 28.
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