Nick Kyrgios pulls out of Australian Open with knee injury

The mercurial tennis star will miss his home Grand Slam due to a knee injury that requires surgery.

Australia's Nick Kyrgios reacts as he announces his withdrawal from the Australian Open with a knee injury at a press conference in Melbourne, Australia, Monday, Jan. 16, 2023. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)
'Injuries are part of the sport,' Australia's Nick Kyrgios said at a press conference in Melbourne, Australia [Mark Baker/AP Photo]

A “devastated” Nick Kyrgios has pulled out of the Australian Open – the day before he was scheduled to play his first-round singles match – because of an injured knee that needs arthroscopic surgery.

Kyrgios, a 27-year-old from Australia, was the runner-up to Novak Djokovic at Wimbledon last year in singles and teamed with good friend Thanasi Kokkinakis to win the men’s doubles championship at the 2022 Australian Open.

Kyrgios was considered the host country’s strongest chance to win a title at Melbourne Park this year – no man from Australia has won the singles trophy there since 1976.

He announced his withdrawal on Monday, Day 1 of action at the year’s first Grand Slam tournament, appearing at a news conference at Melbourne Park alongside his physical therapist, Will Maher.

Kyrgios told reporters at Melbourne Park that he was “devastated” to have to withdraw from his home tournament.

“I’m just exhausted from everything. Obviously pretty brutal,” Kyrgios said Monday of the decision to withdraw. “One of the most important tournaments of my career. Hasn’t been easy at all.

“There’s a mixture of emotions … just bad timing, but that’s life. Injuries are part of the sport.”

He was seeded 19th in Melbourne and was supposed to face Roman Safiullin in the first round on Tuesday.

Kyrgios is as mercurial a character as there is in tennis, known for alternating sometimes-brilliant and sometimes-uninterested play, as well as mixing in the occasional outlandish outburst during matches. He has spoken frankly about dealing with mental health issues.

Kyrgios also has been facing a charge of assault in a pending court case in his hometown of Canberra.

He is nothing if not attention-grabbing on and off a tennis court, which is why he is one of the athletes featured in the new Netflix docuseries Break Point which debuted last week.

The Australian Open was supposed to mark Kyrgios’ official season debut after he withdrew from tuneup play earlier in January. He used an exhibition match against Djokovic on Friday in front of a packed house at Rod Laver Arena to test the knee, but that did not go well.

On Saturday, Kyrgios said the expectations he could go far at the opening Grand Slam of the year were stressful and made it hard to focus.

But the divisive Australian also said he was humbled to be in a position where people considered him in with a real shot of winning a first Grand Slam.

Maher said that an MRI exam after Kyrgios felt discomfort in his knee revealed a cyst and a small tear in the lateral meniscus ligament. The trainer said the problem is “not career-threatening” and that Kyrgios should be able to return to competition by the hard-court tournament at Indian Wells in the US state of California, in March.

Source: News Agencies