Nick Kyrgios' plans for the rest of the tennis season could change dramatically in light of his latest withdrawals from Indian Wells and Miami. Organisers announced on Tuesday that the Aussie tennis player won't be taking his place at the Masters 1000 events this month after failing to recover in time from knee surgery he underwent after the Australian Open.
Kyrgios withdrew from the Australian Open on the eve of the grand slam in January, revealing he had a cyst on his knee that required arthroscopic surgery. He had been targeting a return at Indian Wells next week, but was forced to pull the plug on the event in the Californian desert.
Kyrgios will now likely turn his attention to the clay-court season after revealing last year that he plans to play the French Open for the first time since 2017. The Aussie star has been open about his hatred of playing on clay in the past, but said last year that he'll make a return to Roland Garros in 2023 because girlfriend Costeen Hatzi wants to visit Paris.
“Next year I am going to go to Paris. I’m announcing that now, I’m going to the French Open,” he said. “I haven’t played that in four years so I’ll be back next year. My girlfriend just wants to see Paris. I mean, I’ll play the French Open as well.”
However Kyrgios' plan to return to the red clay has been thrown into question in light of the issues with his knee. As leading tennis writer Ben Rothenberg pointed out, clay can be much less forgiving on players' bodies than grass, posing a significant risk to Kyrgios' knee.
"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)," Rothenberg tweeted. Kyrgios only played one event on clay in 2022, making it to the quarter-finals in Houston.
In the past few years he has opted to skip the traditional clay-court season entirely and focus on grass and Wimbledon. “Get rid of the clay, man. Who likes the clay? It is so bad," he said at Wimbledon in 2019.
“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.”
Will Nick Kyrgios skip clay-court season again?
Tennis fans wouldn't be surprised to see Kyrgios skip the clay-court season again this year in a move that might disappoint his girlfriend. It would seemingly be smarter for the Aussie to focus on the grass-court swing once again, rather than risk doing more damage to his troublesome knees on the clay.
Kyrgios made the final at Wimbledon in 2022 in his best singles result at a grand slam. He was only stopped by a red-hot Novak Djokovic, who won his 21st career major by beating Kyrgios in the decider.
Players won't be defending any rankings points at Wimbledon this year after they were stripped from the All England Club when they banned players from Russia and Belarus. That means Kyrgios would receive a huge rankings boost if he produces some more heroics on the grass this year.
Currently the World No.19, Kyrgios will suffer a slight fall after his withdrawals from Indian Wells and Miami. He made the quarter-finals and fourth round at Indian Wells and Miami last year respectively, meaning he will lose 270 rankings points and slide to around 26th. Because he didn't play on clay last year he wouldn't drop any rankings points if he skips it again.
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