Australian tennis star Nick Kyrgios takes ‘no risk’ approach at Wimbledon
Nick Kyrgios’ impressive header form at Wimbledon has hit a snag as the Australian tennis star pulled out of an event in Mallorca.
Nick Kyrgios expects to be fit for the start of his Wimbledon title challenge next week despite pulling out of his last tune-up event in Spain.
The in-form Australian tennis star, who thinks he is one of the top five or 10 players in the world on grass, has pulled out of the Mallorca championships so as not to ‘risk’ aggravating an abdominal problem.
Kyrgios, 27, has reached the semi-finals in his last two events in Stuttgart and Halle and won a test opener in Mallorca to set up a clash with Roberto Bautista Agut before his withdrawal.
“I am very sorry (but) I will have to withdraw from tonight’s game here in Mallorca,” Kyrgios said in a statement.
“I’ve been playing a lot of great games lately and unfortunately I woke up with abdominal pain.
“I went to see the tournament doctor straight away and he advised me not to play tonight. I’m really enjoying the Mallorca championships but I’ll take his advice because I don’t want to risk Wimbledon next week.
“I was really looking forward to tonight’s game because I loved my time here. Mallorca is such a beautiful island with really nice people.
Meanwhile, the title defense of Australia’s best player Alex de Minaur at Eastbourne remains on track as he quickly progressed to the quarter-finals with a 7-6 (7-3) 6-2 victory on the Italian Lorenzo Sonego.
It was a repeat of last year’s final, after Sonego turned down an all-Australian second-round contest when he outlasted qualifier James Duckworth in three tight sets.
Sonego pushed de Minaur to the brink in the 2021 Eastbourne final but was no match for the tenacious Aussie this time around, dropping serve three times in the second set to seal his exit.
Tommy Paul is next for de Minaur after upsetting fellow Italian No.2 seed Jannik Sinner, who won all four of his meetings with the Australian star.
But John Millman’s hopes of a deep tournament before Wimbledon ended in a 6-4 6-2 loss to Kazakh Alexander Bublik.
Special K return to Wimbledon
Tennis stars Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis will resume their Australian Open-winning partnership at Wimbledon next week.
They will join forces at the All England Club for the fourth time this year, having won the 2013 junior men’s Grand Slam title on grass.
Kyrgios and Kokkinakis battled their way to an unlikely doubles championship at Melbourne Park in January and also made the semi-finals of the Miami Open together.
The ‘Special Ks’ sit sixth in the ATP doubles race, but will be the No. 11 seeds at Wimbledon, where fellow Australian John Peers (eighth) – along with Slovakian partner Filip Polasek – along with Max Purcell and Matt Ebden (15th) is also ready to be seeded.
Purcell and Ebden finished second to Kyrgios and Kokkinakis at the Australian Open.
Kyrgios will enter Wimbledon in excellent form after semi-finals in Stuttgart and Halle suggest he will be a threat to anyone in the singles draw.
The 27-year-old Brandon also became the first athlete to sign with Naomi Osaka’s sports agency Evolve after the former world No. 1 left IMG to start a new venture with her agent Stuart Duguid.
“When I learned that Stuart and Naomi were starting an agency focused on supporting athletes like me, it made perfect sense to join them,” Kyrgios said.
“I have always tried to do things differently throughout my career and bring all my personality to tennis.
“I’m thrilled to be working with Stuart and Naomi to continue to build on what we started and move the game of tennis forward.”
Osaka said Kyrgios epitomized the type of athlete Evolve wanted to represent, praising Canberran’s “unparalleled style, passion and personality unlike any other in the sport”.
Kyrgios drew Laslo Djere in the first round of this week’s Mallorca Championships in Spain as his latest tune-up event for Wimbledon.
Qualifier Jordan Thompson starts against eighth-seeded Argentine Sebastian Baez.
In other Australian tennis news, Alex de Minaur and John Millman advanced to Round 2 at Eastbourne with respective wins in straight sets.
Sixth-seeded De Minaur beat Cristian Garin 6-3 6-3 in 81 minutes, while 86th-seeded Millman stunned rising USA star Sebastian Korda 6-3 7-6 (7-5 ).
Korda pulled out of Wimbledon shortly after his loss, posting on Twitter that he had “been battling terrible shin splints and kicked feet for some time.”
de Minaur awaits the winner between Australian James Duckworth and Italian Lorenzo Sonego, while Millman is expected to face Kazakh Alexander Bublik.
In the women’s draw, Ajla Tomljanovic won a rollercoaster 6-0 4-6 6-3 match against Serbian qualifier Aleksandra Krunic to book a date with eighth seed Jelena Ostapenko.
Kyrgios climbs the standings ahead of Wimbledon tilt
Nick Kyrgios has his highest ranking in almost two years thanks to his blistering form on grass which makes him the most dangerous unranked player at Wimbledon next week.
The Aussie star climbed 20 places to No.45 on Monday after reaching the semi-finals in Halle, where eventual champion Hubert Hurkacz narrowly edged him in a third-set tie-break.
His singles ranking exploded to 137 in the weeks after winning the Australian Open doubles title with Thanasi Kokkinakis, before impressive runs as a wild card in Indian Wells and Miami put him back on track.
Kyrgios dismantled top-20 rivals Pablo Carreno-Busta and world No. 6 Stefanos Tsitsipas in Halle to get this far after advancing to the semi-finals in Stuttgart the previous week.
He admitted to being “happy” with his form after the narrow defeat to Hurkacz and will complete his preparation for Wimbledon at the Mallorca Championships this week in Spain.
“I could use it as an off week, so I’m not going to worry too much about the result,” Kyrgios said of Mallorca.
“But now that I say that, when I get there, obviously I want to continue my form.”
His unranked status means he could face anyone from Novak Djokovic to Rafael Nadal or even Matteo Berrettini in the first round at Wimbledon, with none of the big guns keen to see the Canberran in their section.
Fellow Australian Alex de Minaur is expected to be the No. 18 seed and another potential opponent.
Kyrgios upset Nadal as a teenager to reach the All England Club quarter-finals eight years ago, and won his two career encounters with Djokovic on hard courts in 2017.
This remains the 27-year-old’s best result at Wimbledon and his best result at a Grand Slam, as well as his performance at the 2015 Australian Open.
Kyrgios has made headlines over the past fortnight for his antics on the pitch, including referee spats, broken rackets and an ugly exchange with the Stuttgart crowd, after which he accused them of racism .
But he warned rivals with his imperious form threatening to cause a stir at the grass-court grand slam.
Kyrgios is still a long way from matching his career-best ranking of No.13 from six years ago, but he might be able to challenge it after committing to play at Roland Garros next year.
He’s only played one clay-court tournament this season and hasn’t played Roland Garros since 2017, so he’ll have minimal ranking points to defend.
Kyrgios is also hoping to improve on his third-round result last year at Wimbledon, which could depend on the outcome of the draw and first-round exit at the US Open.