The Australian Open was rocked by the sudden withdrawal of Nick Kyrgios in an announcement that took Melbourne Park by surprise. He has since shared gruesome images of the injury.
Ironically, it was the best pal he shared a career highlight with 12 months ago that ultimately ended Nick Kyrgios’ Australian Open dream.
A light training session with his doubles partner Thanasi Kokkinakis on Monday morning was the last straw for Kyrgios.
He had considered withdrawing the night before due to the throbbing pain in his left knee but wanted to give it one last chance, a kind of Hail Mary, to see if it would hold up.
When Kokkinakis, with whom he won the Australian Open doubles title last year, moved him with ease during practice, reality hit the number 19.
If he couldn’t physically keep up in one training session, how was he going to go through seven games in two weeks to claim the title he really believed he could win this year?
“I came off the pitch yesterday (Sunday) and took care of it, we then wanted to talk on the phone,” explained Kyrgios.
“I was, you know, I worked so hard, put myself in the position of . . . I was ranked outside of the 100 a year ago, now I’ve got the year I had last year and I’m back in the 20’s, got seeded in a Grand Slam, feeling as good as I feel and playing like me feel me I wanted to give myself a chance.
“I had some hope. But you know, after today I was hitting with Thanasi, someone who plays the way he plays, and he pushed me around the court a bit.
“That was more of a realistic type, a hit of coming intensity. It was easier to call today.”
Shortly after the press conference, Kyrgios took to social media to share his vision of the drainage that had been taken from his knee.
The first signs of knee problems started two weeks ago while he was training in Canberra.
At first it was just pain before deciding to have a preventive MRI. The scan showed a parameniscal cyst growing in his left meniscus, resulting from a small tear in his lateral meniscus.
It wasn’t ideal, but there was a theory that it could be handled. Just before Krygios arrived in Melbourne last week, he had a procedure called fenestration, which used a syringe to drain the cyst.
By that time the cyst on the side of his knee had made itself felt and painkilling injections were also being tried to see if they could fix the problem.
“Nick has to give credit for trying everything,” said Will Maher, Kyrgios’ longtime physio.
“He had plenty of injections to try and get in his knee without causing long-term damage.
“We came to Melbourne with the hope that this procedure will take some of the pressure off and he will have some relief and be able to get to a level that he is comfortable at.”
The much-touted show match for charity with Novak Djokovic on Friday evening was the perfect fitness test. Although only a Fast 4 format, it was going to be a solid beating against the world’s best in front of a sold-out crowd at Rod Laver Arena.
Kyrgios enjoyed the experience and was optimistic afterwards. That changed on Saturday morning.
“He didn’t do well,” revealed Maher. “Nevertheless, he tried to give himself every chance to train afterwards in the days that followed. But it was clear he was getting sore and sore with every session.”
At this point, the constant throbbing in his knee was interfering with his sleep and by Sunday he was mentally hanging by a thread.
“It doesn’t feel good, it’s constant,” explained Kyrgios. “When I end a session or a match, it just throbs constantly.
“I haven’t slept well the last four or five nights, it’s just been throbbing. It’s an impact (thing) so every time I land on it or push off my serve you can see on the side of my knee it’s like a little bump.
“This lump just keeps getting bigger and bigger. There is pressure on my knee which obviously impedes my movement. The only real way to get rid of it is to open up and then just get rid of it.”
He will have surgery in Canberra next week, with Maher confident his man will be back on his feet and playing for Indian Wells in March.
And again Kokkinakis will play a role.
“Injuries are part of sport. I think I can take inspiration from someone like Thanasi who has had a number of injuries and is recovering,” said Kyrgios.
“Look, I have no doubt that I will return to my full strength and play the tennis I played before this event. Yes, I’m obviously devastated.
“It’s like my home tournament. I have great memories here. Obviously I won the doubles title last year and probably played the best tennis of my life. Then going into this event as one of the favorites is brutal.
“Now all I can do is look forward, do what I have to do and come back.”
Denis Kudla will replace him as the lucky loser in the draw and will play against Roman Safiullin in the first round.
Rising star Sebastian Korda gave Kyrgios a high-five in the media section, unaware that he had just retired from the tournament.
Korda and his team were stunned when they were told Kyrgios wasn’t there.
“Oh really? No, I didn’t know that. Oh no, oh dear. I hope he’s okay,” Korda told News Corp.
“Incredible player and he’s always very nice to me.”
Originally released as Nick Kyrgios, he sensationally retires from the Australian Open with a knee injury
https://www.codesports.com.au/tennis/nick-kyrgios-has-sensationally-withdrawn-from-the-australian-open/news-story/72c7e14913fc793c7bf54fd4fe2f4aa9?nk=89075726d39b77aee8a90e6c473b3c37-1673851214 Nick Kyrgios leaves the Australian Open with a knee injury