Australian Open title contender Nick Kyrgios pulled out of the tournament due to a knee injury.
Kyrgios was a hopeful to win the tournament in his home country and to start the 2023 season off right after a monster of a year in 2022. But the 27-year-old, who was set to take on Roman Safiullin in the first round of the Grand Slam tournament, needed to bail out.
“Bad timing. Injuries are part of the sport,” he told reporters Monday, via Wide World of Sports in Australia. “I’m devastated obviously, it’s my home slam.”
He said he started to feel discomfort in his knee over the weekend and tried to use Friday’s exhibition against Nick Djokovic as a test to see if he would be able to last during a full match.
“I wanted to give myself hope, I thought I had a chance,” Kyrgios added.
Kyrgios, who is known for his bombastic attitude on the court, had a terrific 2022 season. He had his best finishes in Wimbledon and the U.S. Open of his career and won the Citi Open in Washington. He was a runner-up at the All-England Club and made it to the quarterfinals at Flushing Meadows.
His decision to withdraw also came as Australian authorities are investigating whether he broke any laws as a picture surfaced of him riding a scooter without a helmet, according to The Guardian. It’s illegal to ride an electric scooter in Victoria without a helmet.
Victoria police commissioner Shane Patton said authorities would reach out to Kyrgios through Tennis Australia.