Australian Open loses first crowd pleaser (without playing): enfant terrible Nick Kyrgios withdraws

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Nick Kyrgios (ATP 21) announced on Monday, a day before his first match, that he would not be able to play at the Australian Open. The 27-year-old Australian is struggling with a knee injury.

“I am absolutely devastated,” he said at a press conference. Kyrgios has to have an arthroscopy performed in his home city of Canberra in the coming days. He would return to competition in March at Indian Wells.

Kyrgios hoped to cover a similar course in front of his own audience as at Wimbledon last year in the coming weeks. Then he surprisingly advanced to the final. He would start his tournament on Tuesday against the Russian Roman Safiullin (ATP 97).

“This is one of the most important tournaments in my career,” said the Australian. “I am really devastated. It’s in your own country. I have great memories of Melbourne, especially my doubles title last year (with Thanasi Kokkinakis, ed.).” He never made it past the quarterfinals in singles. Last year he got stuck in the second round.

“But I have to do what is right and rest. It’s not an injury that jeopardizes my career. I will definitely return at my best level. I will still play the tennis I wanted to play this year.”

Kyrgios is an enfant terrible but also an absolute crowd puller. He played a demo match against Novak Djokovic (ATP 5) in Melbourne on Friday, which was sold out in no time. Kyrgios and Djoko are best friends. The pain in his knee started about a week ago.

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