Nick Kyrgios has once again hit the headlines for his on-court antics ahead of the Australian Open, but thinks he has done enough to give himself a chance.
Kyrgios returned to tennis this week after a year long sabbatical, withdrawing himself from the ATP Tour last year for safety concerns through the coronavirus pandemic.
The Australian made his comeback at the ATP Murray River Open, winning twice before bowing out to Borna Coric in his third match, however each encounter wasn’t without its own Kyrgios-shaped controversy.
In the first match against Alexandre Muller, Kyrgios won in three sets but got frustrated at the ball boys through the game, ending in a heated exchange with the umpire with Kyrgios shouting “It’s your job to not let that happen.”
In the second match, against fellow Australian Henry Bourchier, Kyrgios consistently vented his anger at the chair for hurrying him when drying himself with a towel and things came to head when he received a time penalty while serving.
Kyrgios called the umpire a “smart a***’, stopped the game, walked off court and refused to play for several minutes until he could speak to a match supervisor. He went on to win the match in straight sets.
In the third clash, which he lost to Borna Coric, Kyrgios received a warning early on in the game for a expletive-laden rant before smashing his racket off the ground and throwing its battered frame into the empty stands, receiving a point penalty in return.
Kyrgios now has a few days to take stock before his Australian Open push which will begin with a first round tie against qualifier Frederico Ferreira Silva.
A big question remains over whether Kyrgios is ready both mentally and physically for the demands of a Grand Slam, after such a long break from the sport.
“I can’t serve without pain… when I land it feels unstable,” Kyrgios told an on-court physio in his last match.
After the game Kyrgios admitted to injury worries, but said he’d rather not dwell on it and still believes he has given himself a chance.
“I was going through some pain during last year and I’ve always had kind of knee issues, especially with my left knee.
“It was something pretty serious and I’d rather not talk about it” he said.
“I did everything I could to get it better and be able to play and I’m lucky I’m healthy enough to play.”
“There’s a massive question mark for me, even if I was completely healthy, [after] not playing in a year.
“It’s not easy to just turn around and prepare for an event just like that. It’s not like a tap.
“I thought I did everything I could this week. I won a couple of matches, I had a lot of court time and practised every day, as well.
“I think I’m ticking the boxes, I think I’m giving myself a chance.”
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