Kyrgios fuels Australian Open concerns after setback ’caused me a lot of pain’

Nick Kyrgios has raised fears that he may not be ready to return to his home Grand Slam tournament in January after suffering some setbacks with his ongoing knee injury that caused him “a lot of pain”. The former world No 13 has played just one match in the last 13 months and underwent surgery at the start of 2023. Kyrgios admitted that he still had a lot of work to do with the Australian Open now two months away.

Kyrgios has been sidelined since undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery in January and he could now be made to wait even longer to make a return. The 28-year-old already attempted a comeback earlier this year, playing and losing one match in Stuttgart before he pulled out of Wimbledon. Prior to that, his last singles match came at the Japan Open in October 2022.

There are still hopes that the Australian could return to his home Grand Slam at the start of the 2024 season. But Kyrgios has now sparked concerns over whether he will be ready in time after admitting that his knee had still been causing pain.

“There’s still a lot of work to do,” the seven-time title winner told Wide World of Sports. “I had some more setbacks after my knee coming back the first time. It was just not where I wanted to be and it was still causing me a lot of pain. I’ve been around the world with my rehab, seen some people that I hadn’t seen previously for my knee and getting different opinions.”

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The 2022 Wimbledon finalist is now trying to be patient and won’t commit to returning in Australia come January. He continued: “My right wrist type of thing just because I was compensating. From where I was prior to the surgery to now is a big improvement so I guess that’s all I can kind of focus on at the moment. Just being really diligent with rehab. 

“It’s quite a serious surgery where I just need to take my time. I need to be a bit patient. Just patience was the keyword really. Just being able to trust in the process of; OK, your left knee is not gonna feel brand new, but it’s still more than capable of holding up in the Wimbledons and the Australian Opens. I just need to trust that and get it to a point where I feel confident again, just confidence in the body is a big thing.”

And the former world No 13 quashed any speculation of a potential retirement as he admitted he was still hungry to fight for the biggest titles after reaching his maiden Grand Slam final in 2022. “I just want to get my body all right,” he added.

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“I want to go out there feeling as if I’m able to compete for Grand Slams again. I don’t just wanna participate in tournaments because I definitely do feel like I’m a player who can compete for Grand Slams, so I want to be able to just make sure that I’m coming back with that hunger. Then just my health, I just want to take my time and be healthy and come back and give the people the tennis that I was playing in 2022. If I didn’t feel as if I had much left in the tank, I’d probably just hang it up.”

While Kyrgios is eager to make a return, it remains to be seen whether he can do so on home soil. The Australian Open kicks off on January 14 2024 with some warm-up events being staged in the weeks leading up to the first Major of the season.

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