Nick Kyrgios' telling admission after 'heartbreaking' call stuns fans
Nick Kyrgios admitted it was 'heartbreaking' to withdraw from the Japan Open on Friday after confessing he didn't want to push his troublesome left knee.
The Australian was in the hunt for two titles, but made the tough decision to withdraw only minutes before his match against American Taylor Fritz in Friday's quarter-finals after his knee played up.
NICE: Novak Djokovic's telling act after Rafa Nadal baby news emerges
'REALLY SAD': Tennis fans gutted over news about Emma Raducanu
It meant he also had to abandon his doubles semi-final alongside his fellow Australian pal Thanasi Kokkinakis, putting an end to what had been a successful week in which a second singles title of the year had looked his for the taking.
Instead, the 27-year-old has had to fly home to Australia to rest his vulnerable left knee which has often caused him problems.
However, Kyrgios claimed by pulling out of the Japan Open it would afford him a longer push at the end of the season as he looks to take on the 2022 campaign on European hard courts.
"Obviously very disappointing, it's one of my favourite tournaments, I've had great memories here," said Kyrgios, who had the previous day been enthusing about what a tremendous week he'd enjoyed with his team in the Japanese capital.
"But pulling out is the smart option for my body. I've got a couple of events left in the year and I want to do well in them, so I have to be smart."
Kyrgios plans to play the ATP 500 Basel Open at the end of October and has also set his sights on one of the season's big prizes the following week at the Paris Masters in Bercy.
The highlights of his season include winning the Australian Open doubles title, a Wimbledon final run and a triumph in Washington.
And Kyrgios believes if he can keep his momentum going there could be a push for the ATP Finals.
"I'm expecting some big things from myself for the rest of the year. I don't want to coast and wait until the Australian Open," he'd explained earlier in the week in Tokyo.
"I want to stay on the road."
Tennis world reacts to Nick Kyrgios withdrawal
Kyrgios walked out to the stadium and told the fans himself that he wouldn't be able to compete in the quarter-final.
And fans reacted after the tough news for the Australian.
Nick Kyrgios withdraws from Tokyo, where he would play singles QFs and doubles SFs today.
Hoping for nothing serious, but a big blow on his ATP Finals qualification chances.
Kyrgios would very likely make Turin in singles & doubles if Wimbledon points counted.
— José Morgado (@josemorgado) October 7, 2022
Nick Kyrgios has pulled out of tonight's quarter-final, sending Taylor Fritz through to the semi-finals in Tokyo.
Get better soon, @NickKyrgios 🙏🏽#RakutenOpen pic.twitter.com/mLyuLi9QMD
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) October 7, 2022
Wise decision. It is the slam that matters.
— Carlos Mura (@Mura_carlos1) October 8, 2022
You got this @NickKyrgios I believe in you. Remember you are a great tennis player and no one can take that away from you. Getting better and see you soon. Wish one day I can afford those tickets and cheer you on in person. 🤜🏽🤛🏽 https://t.co/YvNO6XMJM7
— precious Gem (@GVorbe) October 7, 2022
What a shame, season is long get well.
— cribe (@BeatricrDieng) October 7, 2022
😢 Speedy recovery champ
— Kay Enwright (@KaySmoggy) October 7, 2022
Get well soon Nick 🙏
— Kaori (@kaori35888) October 7, 2022
Damn wanted to see him have a chance at atp finals. Maybe needs a new fitness coach
— chris (@chris36754561) October 7, 2022
So Kyrgios' season could yet end as it started, with a major doubles triumph alongside Kokkinakis.
The 'Special Ks' won the Australian Open together in January and could lift the end-of-season ATP finals trophy in November if all goes well.
And Kyrgios, not one of life's great trainers, was quick to play down the idea that his withdrawal was a sign of continuing physical vulnerability.
"I know in this case, (pulling out) is probably overloading rather than not being fit enough. I think it's almost being too excited to get on the court and maybe training a little bit too much.
"It's positive but heartbreaking at the same time."
Still, his troublesome knee is likely to remain a problem.
"It's been something I've had to deal with my whole career and sometimes it wakes up pretty average," he added.
"And when I was warming up with Thanasi, it just didn't feel ideal."
Click here to sign up to our newsletter for all the latest and breaking stories from Australia and around the world.