‘Devastated’ Nick Kyrgios withdraws from the Australian Open – ‘It’s been pretty brutal’

Nick Kyrgios arriving on court

Nick Kyrgios’ 2023 Australian Open came to an end on Monday before he even managed to set foot on court after he withdrew from the tournament due to injury.

The Australian No 1 announced at a press conference that he had been forced to pull out of the season-opening Grand Slam due to a knee injury.

Kyrgios was due to face Roman Safiullin in the first round on Tuesday, but he will be replaced by lucky loser Denis Kudla in the main draw.

The 27-year-old’s injury woes started before the United Cup as he missed the mixed team event due to injury.

He made a tentative return in an exhibition match against Novak Djokovic at Rod Laver Arena on Friday and was hopeful of being fit for this week’s hard-court major.

However, he has been unable to recover in time.

“Obviously extremely disappointed,” he said. “I know you guys will all be wondering what’s going so my physio Will [Maher] has been with me throughout my career and he’s been monitoring me pretty closely the last week and he’s going to give you more of the details about what’s kinda gone on.

“Obviously I am just exhausted from everything and [it’s] obviously pretty brutal in one of the most important tournaments of my career and it hasn’t been easy at all.”

He added: “It’s just bad timing. That’s life, you know. injuries are part of sport … I’m not doubting that I’ll be back to my full strength.

“I’m devastated obviously. It’s like 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. Then going into this event as one of the favourites, it’s brutal.”

The setback has come at a crucial moment in Kyrgios’ career as he appears to have gotten the bit between his teeth when it comes to playing in Grand Slams.

Last year he teamed up with his great friend Thanasi Kokkinakis to win the Australian Open men’s doubles title before going on to reach his maiden singles Grand Slam final at Wimbledon, losing in four sets against Novak Djokovic.

He then reached the quarter-final of the US Open and many felt he was one of the favourites at this year’s Australian Open, but his hopes of a home crown came to a shuddering halt on Monday.

Physiotherapist Maher explained: “I think we made the sensible decision to withdraw him because at this stage he wants to feel mentally comfortable that he can go seven matches, he can go the distance, he needs to be able potentially [play] seven three-hour matches [as] simply getting on the court was not enough for him.

“We wanted to prevent him from causing further injury or making that injury worse.”