Kyrgios set for March return, Djokovic vaccination ban a ‘disgrace’

Nick Kyrgios’ manager Daniel Horsfall says the Australian star is on track to return to competitive tennis at Indian Wells in March after undergoing surgery on Monday.

Kyrgios went under the knife in Canberra to repair a small tear in his left lateral meniscus, which caused a cyst to grow in the meniscus – the piece of cartilage that acts as a shock absorber between the shin and thigh bones.

Nick Kyrgios in hospital before and after knee surgeryCredit:Instagram

Kyrgios posted a photo from his hospital bed after the surgery, and will remain in Canberra over the next few weeks in preparation for a return to the ATP tour in the United States on March 6.

“The surgery was a great success,” Horsfall told the Herald and The Age. “We couldn’t have been more pleased with the outcome of it. Now we will be pushing ahead for a speedy recovery and are aiming to see everyone at Indian Wells.”

“For now, Mumma K [Nick’s mother, Nill Kyrgios] will have her work cut out for her having everyone around the home for a little while. Nick will stay back in Canberra. His plan is to eat delicious food and play a lot of Pokemon.

“But on a more serious note, Will [physiotherapist Will Maher] and NK will be in the gym still working on the rest of his body to make sure he stays fit and fresh in the meantime.”

Haas gives US a serve over vax mandate

Tennis legend and tournament director at Indian Wells, Tommy Haas, has fired a shot at the United States government over its vaccination mandate that will prevent Novak Djokovic from playing in the March tournament.

Haas said it was a “disgrace” that Djokovic will be forced to miss more tournaments in the US given the government recently extended its vaccination policy until at least mid-April, meaning unvaccinated foreigners could not enter the country.

“It would be nice to see if we could maybe lift those a little earlier and have him come to play Indian Wells and Miami,” Haas told Nine.

“I think he wants to play, so we should give him the chance. Hopefully, we can have him there. I mean, it would be a disgrace in my eyes if he wasn’t coming to these events, or not allowed to come.”

Rublev heckler has his say

Last week we reported how Russian star Andrey Rublev made a complaint to the chair umpire during his match on Thursday after he was allegedly abused by fans bearing an Ukrainian flag.

Rublev claimed that he had no issue with the flag hung over the advertising boards, but took exception to the “bad words and bad things” directed towards him from the crowd.

The spectator, who asked to be referred to as “Jeremy” out of concerns for his privacy, later left the arena after being warned by tournament security.

Andrey Rublev approached the chair umpire over crowd behaviour.Credit:Getty

He reached out this column to deny he had been aggressive towards Rublev, or that his words were racially motivated.

“Rublev claimed that I was saying “bad words” to him, but he did not actually specify what was said,” Jeremy said in an email to the Herald and The Age.

“I was [mildly] heckling him about his play, not abusing him … We did not utter a single swear word aimed at Rublev, unlike Rublev when he was correctly point penalised by the chair umpire in the third set for obscene language.”

Australian Open organisers banned patrons from bringing Russian and Belarusian flags into Melbourne Park after an incident on the opening day of the tournament.

Korda ties could strengthen further

The strength of the Korda family’s ties to both Australia and the Australian Open has been well documented.

Unfortunately, Sebastian Korda’s father Petr, who won the Australian Open in 1998, hasn’t made the trip Down Under this year. That may change if his son knocks off Karen Khachanov on Tuesday to book his place in the semi-finals.

Sebastian’s mother, Regina Rajchrtova Korda, is in Melbourne to watch her son.

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