Nick Kyrgios makes a big announcement as he ponders a tennis comeback

Kevin Palmer
Nick Kyrgios was a commentary box star at the Australian Open
Nick Kyrgios was a commentary box star at the Australian Open

Nick Kyrgios has given mixed messages over whether he will make a return to tennis, but he appears to be preparing for a comeback in 2024.

The Aussie maverick missed nearly all of 2023 due to injury and was forced to abort his attempt to play at this year’s Australian Open due to injury.

He shone as a commentator at the Australian Open and now has his own podcast and a host of business ventures that appear to suggest he is preparing for a life away from competitive sport.

Yet Kyrgios looks ready to make another push to return to action, as he has been announced as a competitor in the Ultimate Tennis Showdown (UTS) event in New York.

Created by Patrick Mouratoglou, the legendary coach of Serena Williams, UTS is a fast-paced, explosive version of tennis that has proved to be a big hit with fans around the world in recent years.

The two-day event in New York will feature such tennis superstars as Andrey Rublev (RUS), Gael Monfils (FRA), Alex de Minaur (AUS), and Casper Ruud (NOR), competing for a total prize money of $1 million.

Yet it is the names of Kyrgios on the entry list that has raised a few eyebrows, as it suggests he intends to try and get back on court for the grass court season and into the US hardcourt swing.

Kyrgios has given mixed messages over whether he will come back, suggesting he is ‘done with tennis’ and then backtracking on those comments during his commentary stint at the Australian Open.

“I don’t enjoy being injured and I don’t enjoy rehabbing and stuff, and there have been times where it’s like, is this worth it, but you go again,” he said.

“Of course I’m going to come back, I’ve got a protected ranking of 21 in the world singles, 11 in doubles.

“I’m going to come back. I’m going to give it a go.

“I’ve had some brutal injuries over the last year, obviously had knee surgery twice, battled on through that then had wrist surgery, but I still feel I have it in me.”

READ MORE: Inside story on how Nick Kyrgios became a commentary star at the Australian Open

Confirmation that Kyrgois is on the UTS entry list comes after tournament host Mouratoglou hinted he would be keen to coach the 2022 Wimbledon finalist if he returns to the court.

Mouratoglou has named Kyrgios as a player he would want the opportunity to coach, but recognised this depends on the Aussie’s willingness to be coached.

“I think he would be one of the most exciting guys to coach. The thing is, for someone to have a coach, he needs to want it,” said the Frenchman in an interview with The Age.

“You cannot work with a player who doesn’t want a coach. So that will be his decision one day, or maybe never, we’ll see. This guy has an incredible potential.

“He’s complicated, he’s complex. Sometimes I think I’m not even sure he understands himself, but I think from the side watching him for so many years, I think I understand him.

“I mean I’m not the only one probably, but I can feel him. I think there are a lot of very smart things to do with him to make him a Grand Slam winner, or more.

“You cannot coach him like you would coach anyone else. For him, you have to smartly take pressure away from him. And let him face pressure, but not for him to know that he is facing pressure. And he will learn to like it.”

New York will be the second time the UTS Tour has headed to the US, following a weekend in Los Angeles in July 2023.

Additional UTS Tour events have taken place in Oslo, Norway (February 2024) and London, UK (December 2023).

UTS explainer:

  • The timer stops during the 3-minute changeover at the end of each quarter.
  • The 1st player to win 3 quarters wins the match. If both players are tied at 2 QTs apiece, the 5th QT is played in a ‘Sudden Death’ format*
  • The ‘Sudden Death’ is a dramatic cliffhanger where the first player to win two consecutive points wins the match. Every point from the second point onwards is a match point during the Sudden Death.
  • During the quarter, players serve two points each: player A serves for two points, then player B serves for two points, then player A serves for two points again.
  • As a major change designed to reduce downtime and create more rallies, UTS players are allowed one serve only per point: missing the serve results in losing the point.
  • Finally, the ‘No-Let’ rule during serve will be in effect.