MELBOURNE, Australia ( Associated Press) – A “devastated” Nick Kyrgios withdrew from the Australian Open on Monday, a day before his singles debut, with a left knee injury that will require arthroscopic surgery.
The 27-year-old Australian lost to Novak Djokovic in the Wimbledon singles final in 2022 and together with his friend Thanasi Kokkinakis captured the doubles title in the last edition of the Australian Open.
Kyrgios was seen as the host nation’s best card to win the title at Melbourne Park this year. No Australian man has been crowned singles champion of the tournament since 1976.
“An inappropriate moment. But that’s life,” said a dejected Kyrgios, who sometimes covered his face with his hand when he appeared at a press conference at Melbourne Park with his physiotherapist Will Maher. “Injuries are part of the game.”
Kyrgios announced his return on the first day of Grand Slam action of the year.
“I’m tired of everything. It’s a very painful thing,” Kyrgios said of the decision to unsubscribe. “One of the most important tournaments of my career. It was not easy at all.”
Seeded 19th in Melbourne, he faces Roman Safiulin in the first round on Tuesday.
He has joined a long list of figures who have not competed in this Australian Open. Roger Federer, Serena Williams and Ash Barty all ended their careers last year. Naomi Osaka has recently announced her pregnancy. Carlos Alcaraz, Venus Williams and Marin Cilic suffered injuries.
Kyrgios is one of the most uncontrollable personalities in tennis, a player who, in addition to his outbursts during matches, can act in moments of brilliance and then show complete indifference. He has been vocal about dealing with mental health issues.
He also faces a charge of assault pending in the courts in his hometown of Canberra.
He’s someone who commands attention on and off the court, and that’s why he’s one of the main animators on “Break Point,” the new Netflix documentary series that premiered last week.
The Australian Open was Kyrgios’ official season debut after withdrawing from a tournament in early January. He took advantage of an exhibition match against Djokovic on Friday before a sold-out Rod Laver Arena to test the knee, but it looked bad.
Maher explained that a subsequent MRI revealed a cyst and a small tear of the lateral ligament. The coach said the problem “does not pose a career threat” to Kyrgios and he could return to competition in March at the Indian Wells Open in California, which is played on hard courts.
“I just have to do everything I can to come back,” Kyrgios said.