Nick Kyrgios has withdrawn from the Australian Open with a knee injury just a day before he was due to play his first-round match against Roman Safiullin in the latest hammer blow to the tournament.
The 27-year-old was Australia’s best chance of taking out a title at the grand slam and was originally battling an ankle injury that prevented him from competing in any of the warm-up tournaments before play started at Melbourne Park.
A routine MRI that was done after Kyrgios suffered discomfort in his knee revealed that he has a tear in his lateral meniscus and a cyst, his physiotherapist Will Maher explained.
Kyrgios cut a forlorn figure as he announced he’s been forced to pull out of his home grand slam (pictured): ‘I’m devastated, obviously’
The 19th seed for the Open said he was playing possibly the best tennis of his life – making his forced withdrawal even harder to bear
The great Aussie hope (pictured with girlfriend Costeen Hatzi) said the injury isn’t career-threatening and he has no doubt he’ll make a full recovery
The injury isn’t serious enough to be career-threatening and it only became a problem in the last two weeks, he said.
The star said he was shattered to have to withdraw from his home grand slam, where many rated him a chance of going one better than he did at Wimbledon, where he lost the final to Novak Djokovic last year.
‘I’m devastated, obviously, it’s my home grand slam,’ he said at a press conference just after the news broke on Monday afternoon.
‘I’m just exhausted from everything. Pretty brutal, one of the most important tournaments of my career. Hasn’t been easy at all.’
‘It’s my home tournament, I’ve had some great memories here. Obviously last year winning the title in doubles and playing the best tennis of my life, probably.
‘Going into this event as one of the favourites, it’s brutal.
‘All I can do now is look forward, do what I need to do and just come back … Obviously a mixture of emotions … that’s life. It’s part of the sport.
The 27-year-old shared a gruesome picture of what was drained from his knee with a syringe shortly after delivering the news that he had to quit the grand slam
Kyrgios’s physiotherapist Will Maher joined the star to deliver the news that shocked the tennis world on Monday afternoon, less than 24 hours before he was due to take to the court
‘I’m not doubting that I’ll be back to my full strength.’
Kyrgios will head to his home town of Canberra for surgery on the injury in the next fortnight.
His withdrawal is the latest in a series of blows for the Australian Open, which has already lost major drawcards Naomi Osaka, men’s world No.1 Carlos Alcaraz, and Australia’s best hope in the women’s singles, Ajla Tomljanovic.
Kyrgios’s doubles partner and great mate Thanasi Kokkinakis – with whom he won the men’s doubles title at last year’s Australian Open – is also sure to be shattered by the news.
Kyrgios and his team used last Friday night’s charity match against Novak Djokovic (pictured) as an acid test to see if he’d be able to play on – but he pulled up poorly
The 27-year-old also pulled out of December’s United Cup 24 hours before he was due to play, but that was due to an ankle injury he sustained in Dubai
Maher explained that the injury would have become worse had the star tried to play through it after he didn’t recover when he played Novak Djokovic in a charity match last Friday night.
‘We used the charity event against Novak to see if he could compete at the highest level,’ Maher said.
‘He didn’t pull up great. It’s been a pretty interrupted and difficult lead-in.
‘In the last week Nick has experienced discomfort in his knee … it was worth perservering to see if he can get back on court.
‘To Nick’s credit, he did everything to get back on court.’
Maher also revealed that Kyrgios had the cyst drained with a syringe: ‘Nick has some pretty gruesome photos of that. I’m sure he’ll probably share them later.’
Kyrgios also pulled out of the United Cup team tournament just 24 hours before Australia’s first game in late December, but cited an ankle injury he suffered in Dubai as the reason.
Australian team captain Lleyton Hewitt accused the star of ‘throwing me under the bus’ with his late withdrawal.
Published by Associated Newspapers Ltd
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