Tennis Australia boss Craig Tiley has confirmed that Nick Kyrgios will be at the Australian Open "in some form" as the polarising tennis figure continues to recover from a wrist injury. The Aussie tennis star has missed nearly all of 2023 with a knee and wrist injury and last month said he's hungry to get back on a tennis court.
Kyrgios said progress is being made but the 'stars would need to align' for him to play at the Australian Open. However, Tiley is hopeful that Kyrgios will be fit and ready to play at Melbourne Park in January but even if he wasn't he would be playing a part in the Open.
"The update is day-by-day with him," Tennis Australia boss Craig Tiley said on Monday. "He'll be best to assess that ... we're going to have Nick here in some form or another in January. Hopefully, it is to play because he's a crowd-pleaser. We love watching Nick and love having him around."
Kyrgios recently debuted as a commentator at November's ATP Finals in Italy, and if he isn't ready to play Tiley may push to utilise him in a similar role. Despite the doubt over Kyrgios' fitness, Tiley says the return of Rafa Nadal had helped ticket sales increase by more than 10 per cent compared with this time last year.
On Friday, Nadal announced that he will make his eagerly awaited comeback at the Brisbane International later this month. The legendary Spaniard will then take the court in Melbourne for what could be his farewell Down Under.
The 37-year-old hasn't competed since being knocked out in the second round of this year's Open by American Mackenzie McDonald but after undergoing a successful hip surgery he is back ready to go. "It's fun talking to Rafa, that's why this job is great ... what a beautiful person," Tiley said.
"He was most concerned that he wasn't going to be ready to play; he didn't want to commit to playing and let his fans down by then having to pull out. He's healthy, he's practising well, he's playing like Rafa plays and going all out. It took a while to make the announcement simply because he wanted to make sure he was going to be able to come and play."
Bernard Tomic no guarantee of Australian Open qualifying wildcard
Tiley has also refused to guarantee a wildcard spot to controversial star Bernard Tomic. The 31-year-old has steadily pushed up the world rankings over the last 18 months to reach No.278 after dropping to as low as No.825 last year.
The former Australian and US Open juniors champion has only played in the main draw of the Australian Open twice since 2018, the last time in 2021. His relationship with Tennis Australia is considered strained at best but upon announcing he may not be given a qualifying wildcard, Tiley insisted the decision would have nothing to do with his relationship with Tennis Australia.
"It's not so much about the relationship, but it's about if they're deserving," Tiley said. "The things we consider - the form of the player coming in, there is a factor looking at age in some instances because do you want to give a younger player the opportunity versus one who's been the journeyman for a while?
"We haven't made the (wildcard) decisions in qualifying yet ... we've made quite a few decisions on the main draw which we'll announce in the coming days."
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