Nick Kyrgios announcement stuns tennis fans amid doubts around French Open

The Aussie tennis player still hasn't hit the court since withdrawing before the start of the Australian Open.

Nick Kyrgios, pictured here at the Laver Cup in 2021.
Nick Kyrgios will return to the Laver Cup in 2023. Image: Getty

Nick Kyrgios has announced he will return to the Laver Cup this year after missing the popular event in 2022 to spend time with his family. The Aussie star had played for Team World in all four previous editions of the Laver Cup until deciding to skip it last year.

However fans were delighted to hear on Tuesday that Kyrgios will be back in action at the team event in September when Team World battles Team Europe in the sixth edition in Vancouver, Canada. "I’m pumped to be a part of Team World,” Kyrgios said. “As I’ve said many times before, a kid from Canberra representing the world, it’s pretty special and I’m ready to go to battle."

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Team World coach John McEnroe expressed his excitement at having Kyrgios back in action. “Nick is one of the most talented guys on tour,” he said.

“We saw the level of tennis he’s capable of last year at Wimbledon and we’re all looking forward to seeing him on the court again soon. He brings great energy and passion. I’m excited to have him back on the team in Vancouver.”

Kyrgios opted to skip the fifth edition of the event last year, which saw Team World win for the first time in what was Roger Federer's emotional farewell to tennis. “The fact that Team World finally got one on the board is amazing,” Kyrgios on Tuesday.

“I’ve been a part of the team four times and we came up short after being close so many times. The fact that now we know we can do it is a special thing. Hopefully, I can just add to that team, not change the spirit up too much, just add some positive vibes and see if we can get it done again.”

Kyrgios will once again team up with Felix Auger-Aliassime of Canada, as well as American players Taylor Fritz and Frances Tiafoe. For Team Europe, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Andrey Rublev have also confirmed their participation.

Team Europe had Federer, Rafa Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray at their disposal last year due to the fact Federer was playing the final event of his storied career. It remains to be seen whether the tennis greats will return in 2023.

Nick Kyrgios appears unlikely to play French Open

The news of Kyrgios' participation is the first significant update on the Aussie star in a number of weeks. Kyrgios hasn't played since withdrawing from the Australian Open before the tournament kicked off in January, and appears very unlikely to play at the French Open at the end of May.

The World No.26 hasn't played any of the clay-court tournaments in the lead-up to Roland Garros, and publicly regards the French Open as his least-favoured grand slam. He hasn't played the clay-court slam since 2017 and appears odds-on to wait until the grass-court season before making his return to the ATP tour.

Speaking late last year, Kyrgios flagged his intentions to play the French Open in 2023 because his girlfriend wanted to see Paris. But his knee injury appears to have changed those plans.

Nick Kyrgios and Stefanos Tsitsipas, pictured here at the Laver Cup in 2021.
Nick Kyrgios and Stefanos Tsitsipas at the Laver Cup in 2021. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images for Laver Cup)

As leading tennis journalist Ben Rothenberg wrote after Kyrgios withdrew from Indian Wells and Miami last month: "Somewhat tough to imagine him coming back on clay, given his feelings about that surface historically. But that's his only option for a couple months after those (Indian Wells and Miami)."

Kyrgios said at Wimbledon in 2019: “Get rid of the clay, man. Who likes the clay? It is so bad.

“The fact that I am here right now and I have to go to Paris in a couple of days. The French Open sucks compared to this place. Sucks. Absolute sucks.”

Kyrgios has locked in an exhibition match against Holger Rune at the Energi Danmark Champions Battle in Copenhagen on May 24. It shapes as his first competitive match since January, while he hasn't played at tour level since October.

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