Nick Kyrgios has apologised to his fans after pulling out of his first singles match since Wimbledon because of injury.
The Australian had been due to take on Peter Gojowczyk at the Atlanta Open on Wednesday (AEST), but he withdrew at the last minute. The German will now play lucky loser Adrian Mannarino instead.
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Kyrgios came out onto the court to explain he had pulled out with a knee injury, but is holding out hope he will recover in time for his quarterfinals doubles match with fellow Aussie Thanasi Kokkinakis.
“First of all, I just want to say (I’m) extremely shattered that I’m not able to compete tonight,” Kyrgios told the awaiting fans.
“I’ve won this tournament once (in 2016) and I’m playing probably some of the best tennis in my career and all I wanted to do was come out here and give you guys a show, to see what I was capable of.
“But I’m unable to give out my best performance. I’m extremely sorry but I’m going to keep my hopes up and maybe be able to continue doubles with Thanasi this week.
“I hope you all won’t be too hard on me. I was going to come out here to see you guys face-to-face to tell you that I love you guys and hopefully next year in singles, I’ll be able to compete and give it my all.”
It’s a major setback for Kyrgios, who would have been hoping to carry on his strong form that saw him make the Wimbledon final into the American hardcourt season.
Kyrgios would have been ranked inside the top 20 of the ATP rankings if Wimbledon ranking points had counted.
But his withdrawal from Atlanta now means he is likely to drop out of the top 60 and be unseeded for the US Open, which begins in late August.
Kyrgios and Kokkinakis, the Australian Open doubles champions, beat French duo Nicolas Mahut and Eduoard Roger-Vasselin 7-6 7-3 to move into the quarterfinals, where they are due to take on Gonzalo Escobar and Hunter Reese.
Earlier, Kyrgios announced he would partner with American Jack Sock in the doubles for next month’s Washington Open.
He couldn’t resist taking a cheeky swipe at rival Stefanos Tsitsipas in the process, following their fiery third round clash at Wimbledon.
“I’m super excited to see Jack Sock,” he said in an Instagram Live interview with Citi Open.
“We’ve got doubles in DC which I’m super excited about.
“I’ve had Stefanos as a partner there so it can’t get much worse than that.”