MELBOURNE, Australia — After spending the past week receiving all of the laurels of a hometown favorite, Nick Kyrgios suddenly withdrew from the Australian Open on Monday with a knee injury, a bit greater than 24 hours ahead of his scheduled first-round match.
In an interview Friday, Kyrgios, the temperamental Australian star who was a finalist at Wimbledon last 12 months, said he had been battling soreness in his left knee through the off-season, but he expected to have the option to play within the 12 months’s first Grand Slam.
Those hopes took a turn for the more serious Friday after a charity match with Novak Djokovic.
“Extremely disillusioned,” Kyrgios said during a news conference Monday afternoon at Melbourne Park. “Pretty brutal. One of the vital necessary tournaments of my profession.”
After climbing from outside the highest 100 in 2021 to play deep into two Grand Slam tournaments last 12 months, Kyrgios was among the many favorites heading into the Australian Open, where he won the boys’s doubles title last 12 months with fellow Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis.
The primary sign that things weren’t going as planned emerged in late December, when Kyrgios pulled out of the United Cup, a team competition, just before the beginning of the event. He then withdrew from an Australian Open tuneup tournament in Adelaide, hoping that he can be healthy enough by the beginning of the Australian Open this week.
Will Maher, Kyrgios’s longtime physiotherapist, said through the Monday news conference that Kyrgios underwent an M.R.I. last week that exposed each a cyst and a slight tear in his meniscus. Maher said Kyrgios will go home to Canberra for a procedure later this week. He’ll spend February rehabilitating the knee and is hoping to be healthy enough to play in March within the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Calif.
“There’s a parameniscal cyst growing in his left meniscus, which is the results of a small tear in his lateral meniscus.” Maher said. “It’s not a major injury within the sense that it’s going to be career-threatening, or anything like that.”
Maher said Kyrgios had done all the pieces he could to have the option to compete. Last week, he underwent a procedure to empty the cyst. He also received injections to alleviate the pressure, and while there was temporary relief, the soreness increased in recent days. Maher said playing could risk making a more significant injury, corresponding to a tear in his anterior cruciate ligament, or A.C.L.
Kyrgios said that as soon as he lost within the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open in September, his mind shifted to the Australian Open, where he liked his possibilities on hardcourts in front of raucous home crowds.
“I all the time wanted to only do all the pieces right and train right and tick every box, and just be ready,” Kyrgios said. He added, “Obviously, this coming around is just bad timing. But that’s life. Injury is part of the game.”
He said he was confident that he would have the option to regain the shape that made him certainly one of the world’s most feared players, but surgery is the one approach to get there.
“Each time I land on serve or push off my serve, you’ll be able to see on the side of my knee there’s like a bit lump,” he said. “That lump will eventually just get larger and larger. There’s pressure on my knee, obviously hinders my movement. The one real approach to eliminate it’s to open up after which just eliminate it.”
Kyrgios has one other serious issue to take care of in Canberra in the approaching weeks.
In early February, Kyrgios is due in court to face a charge of common assault stemming from an altercation with an ex-girlfriend, Chiara Passari, in December 2021. Kyrgios has declined to debate the matter because it became public during his run to the Wimbledon final in July.
Common assault is the least serious assault charge in Australia, but it surely implies that the victim experienced immediate, illegal violence, or the specter of it, though not bodily injury. Kyrgios’s lawyers have said they’ll mount a defense focused on mental illness, citing his history of depression and substance abuse, struggles Kyrgios has said will all the time be with him but that he now has under control. If the court accepts this defense and dismisses the case, it could then determine to impose a treatment plan. The utmost penalty for common assault is 2 years’ imprisonment.