Just hours before his scheduled first round match against Roman Safiullin, Nick Kyrgios announced that he is withdrawing from the Australian Open on Monday during a surprise press conference. Kyrgios made the decision as a result of a left knee injury that will require arthroscopic surgery.
A routine MRI revealed that Kyrgios had a small tear and a cyst in his lateral meniscus.
"I'm devastated. It's brutal," Kyrgios said on Monday, the Associated Press reported. "This is my home tournament, and obviously winning the tournament in doubles [last year] and playing the best tennis of my life. All I can do is my best to come back."
Kyrgios had just competed against nine-time Australian Open winner Novak Djokovic on Friday in a charity match at Melbourne Park. According to the Associated Press, Kyrgios' physiotherapist, Will Maher, stated that the tennis star "didn't pull up great" following the exhibition match -- an event he took part in to test the injured knee.
"We used the charity event against Novak to see if he could compete at the highest level," Maher said. "It's been [a] pretty interrupted and difficult lead-in. In the last week, Nick has experienced discomfort in his knee. There's a small tear in his lateral meniscus. It was worth persevering to see if he can get back on court. To Nick's credit, he did everything to get back on court."
Kyrgios was coming off an impressive 2022 season in which he won the Australian Open doubles title with fellow countryman Thanasi Kokkinakis last year. The 27-year-old star also reached the Wimbledon final before losing to Djokovic last July.
"Barely had a good night's sleep the last four, five nights. It's just been throbbing. ... Every time I land on serve or push off my serve, you can see on the side of my knee there's like a little lump. That lump will eventually just get bigger and bigger," Kyrgios said. "There's pressure on my knee (that) obviously hinders my movement. Yeah, the only real way to get rid of it is to open up and then just get rid of it."
It's expected that Kyrgios will return to Canberra, Australia at some point in the next couple of weeks to have the surgery performed. Maher confirmed that Kyrgios should be able to return to the court for the 2023 BNP Paribas Open at Indians Wells, California in March.