On day one of the Australian Open, Australian superstar Nick Kyrgios has dramatically pulled out of the tournament.
A “devastated” Kyrgios shared the news in a hastily-arranged press conference on Monday evening, the day before the number 17 men’s seed was supposed to play Roman Safiullin.
After getting results back from an MRI following knee pain, the outspoken Aussie was told he had a small cyst growing in his lateral meniscus. He’ll have to undergo arthroscopic surgery to drain and remove it but it is not expected to be career-threatening.
“I’m devastated obviously, it’s my home tournament,” Kyrgios told reporters.
“Obviously, it’s pretty brutal. One of the most important tournaments of my career so, it hasn’t been easy at all. That’s life. Injuries are part of the sport.”
His physiotherapist Will Maher explained that Kyrgios had been feeling discomfort in his knee for the past fortnight and underwent a routine MRI to inspect the issue. Kyrgios is understood to have been receiving treatment already, using Friday’s exhibition match with Novak Djokovic to test the seriousness of the injury.
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Maher said that the team decided Kyrgios was not going to be able to win the seven straight matches required to win the Open and that it was better he pulled out now to have the surgery.
Kyrgios was a 15/1 favourite to win the tournament after a strong 2022 in which he and his doubles partner, Thanasi Kokkinakis, took the title at last year’s Australian Open. He did however suffer an unrelated ankle injury which took him out of the United Cup earlier this summer.
The American-Ukrainian Denis Kudla, who was knocked out of the tournament on Thursday by Oleksii Krutykh, will take Kyrgios’ place. Kudla will be playing his eighth main draw at the Open after testing positive for COVID last year and being unable to play.
“man……. this one hurts, to all my fans, I will be back stronger,” Kyrgios wrote in an Instagram post.