The world number 40 on Sunday read a letter on his social media channels blasting the tournament for going ahead in New York later this month in the middle of the global crisis.
His withdrawal was debated on the Channel 10 program on Sunday night when he was criticised by the panel for the way in which it was delivered.
‘He just finds a way to make a really rational comment about the dangers of any tournament going ahead at a time like this – particularly in the States – brat-like in the way that he delivers it,’ van Onselen said on the Sunday night show.
As coronavirus curfews kicked in on Melbourne for the first time in history, fellow Project host comedian Tommy Little put the boot in to the 25-year-old Australian player over his refusal to play.
Nick Kyrgios (pictured bottom) has taken a stand on not playing the U.S. Open, calling on tennis fans to remember that lives lost cannot be recovered
Peter van Onselen unloaded on Nick Kyrgios on The Project on Sunday for his ‘brat-like’ cancellation. The U.S. has the world’s worst coronavirus outbreak: more than 4.7 million cases
‘Nick Kyrgios not wanting to play is what Nick Kyrgios has always done,’ Little told the Channel 10 audience.
‘Like half the time he gets halfway through a match and decides he doesn’t want to play.’
Comedian Susie Youssef also had a dig at Kyrgios for his announcement.
‘I was watching it going, “baby boy and growing up”. There’s a subtle jab at Djokovic,’ she said.
‘And he signs off with “like it or not”. A bit of sass.’
Earlier on Sunday, Kyrgios read the heartfelt letter and posted the video on social media.
‘It hurts me at my core not to be out there competing at one of the sports’ greatest arenas, Arthur Ashe Stadium,’ Kyrgios said.
World number 40 Nick Kyrgios said he was sitting out the U.S. Open for all the people who have lost their lives to coronavirus so far including 158,000 Americans as of Sunday night
‘But I’m sitting out for the people, for my Aussies, for the hundreds and thousands of Americans who have lost their lives. For all of you.’
The 25-year-old asked why tennis officials and players were being ‘selfish’ when lives were at stake.
‘Let us take a breath here and remember what is important, which is health and safety as a community,’ Kyrgios wrote.
Nick Kyrgios (pictured with girlfriend Chiara Passari) has pulled out of the US Open tennis tournament, but was called ‘brat-like’ by The Project host Peter van Onselen
‘We can rebuild our sport and the economy but we can never recover lives lost.’
‘I’ve got no problem with the USTA putting on the US Open, and if players want to go, that’s up to them so long as everyone acts appropriately and acts safely. No one wants people to keep their jobs more than me.
‘I’m speaking for the guy who works at the restaurant, the cleaners, the locker room attendants. These are the people that need their jobs back the most and fair play to them.
‘But tennis players, you have to act in the interests of each other and work together. You can’t be dancing on tables, money-grabbing your way around Europe or trying to make a quick buck hosting the next exhibition.
‘That’s just so selfish. Think of the other people for once. That’s what this virus is about. It doesn’t care about your world ranking or how much money you have. Act responsibly.
‘To those players that have been observing the rules and acting selflessly, I say good luck to you. Play at your own risk – and I have no problem with that.
‘I will not be playing this year at the US Open.
‘It hurts me at my core not to be out there competing at one of the sports’ greatest arenas, Arthur Ashe Stadium. But I’m sitting out for the people, for my Aussies, for the hundreds and thousands of Americans who have lost their lives. For all of you.
‘It is my decision, like it or not, and those are my reasons.
‘Yours sincerely, Nick.’
Kyrgios (pictured at the Australian Open in January) has questioned why tennis is so desperate to return amid the coronavirus pandemic
Kyrgios’ withdrawal came just days after World No. 1 Australian Ash Barty also pulled the pin on the U.S. tennis tour, stressing it was not safe for her to take her team to the United States while the country’s coronavirus crisis remains out of control.
Sam Stosur will also not compete at the U.S. Open.
The U.S. has the most COVID-19 cases of any nation having failed to contain the virus.
The U.S. now suffers widespread community transmission with 4.7 million cases of which 2.2 million are active, and 158,021 deaths according to Worldometers statistics.
More Americans have died from coronavirus than the Korean War (36,516) and Vietnam War (58,209) combined.
Worldwide coronavirus case numbers soared over 18 million late on Sunday night with 690,002 dead.
Kyrgios said it ‘hurts me at my core’ to not play the US Open this year, and that it was important to put health fist. Pictured: Kyrgios hits a serve in the 2019 US Open.