The news will have come as a crushing blow for Australian tennis fans. Nick Kyrgios, who reached a maiden Grand Slam final at Wimbledon last year, was ruled out of the 2023 Australian Open with a knee injury. Despite the 27-year-old’s best efforts to get fit for the Melbourne-based tournament, there was just no way his body would have held up to the demands of a Grand Slam.
“It’s obviously been pretty brutal before [one] of the most important tournaments of my career,” Kyrgios said. “It hasn’t been easy at all. I’m devastated obviously. It’s like my home tournament. I’ve had some great memories here. Obviously last year winning the title in doubles and playing the best tennis of my life probably. Then going into this event as one of the favourites, it’s brutal.”
The Aussie brings so much life to every tournament he plays, for better and for worse. He is an enigmatic figure who plays the game with flair and pizzazz. Here are three reasons why he’ll be sorely missed from Melbourne Park this year.
The home favourite
Of course, the Australian Open holds a special place in Nick Kyrgios’ heart. As his home tournament, it is the one he places greatest emphasis on, and missing it will be a devastating blow.
For the crowds eagerly flocking to Melbourne Park, it will be disappointing too. Kyrgios is their man, and this was set to be the first edition of the tournament where he was truly being considered as one of the favourites in the Australian Open 2023 betting odds after his performances at Wimbledon last year.
His success in the doubles in 2022 gave Kyrgios a taste for what it is like to win in a home Grand Slam, and he’ll have to put his dream of doing so in the singles on ice for now.
Kyrgios is most known for his outbursts of anger on court, and his sarky comments to match umpires, and for all that he often brings the game into disrepute, you can’t deny that the entertainment factor of his antics will be sorely missed.
Indeed, the umpires at the Australian Open may well have been breathing a sigh of relief when Kyrgios’ withdrawal was announced, such is the vitriol he often aims at the man or woman in the chair. For the crowds in attendance though, and for those watching on TV, his outbursts will be missed.
Much of the draw of Nick Kyrgios are his unique shot-making capabilities, and the sense that you never quite know what to expect when you sit down to watch one of his matches. On some occasions, he can play the kind of blistering, ruthless tennis that makes it seem impossible that he hasn’t won a Grand Slam title. On others, he can throw in the towel mentally and produce a performance that wouldn’t be out of place on a local park court.
It’s this unpredictability that makes Kyrgios such a great player to watch, and his absence will be keenly felt at this year’s Australian Open.