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Nick Kyrgios still feels a part of the 2023 Australian Open and even declared he had a ‘successful’ tournament despite his eleventh-hour withdrawal before his opening match. Kyrgios did not strike a ball at this year’s home Grand Slam after being left ‘devastated’ as he was forced to pull out with a knee injury on Monday.
Wimbledon finalist Kyrgios was one of the favourites to win his first Grand Slam, with huge expectations on the box-office Aussie’s shoulders to perform in Melbourne. But he was dealt a huge blow when he learned that he had a parameniscal cyst growing in his left meniscus after nursing a knee problem for several days, forcing him to undergo an operation and miss the tournament.
And the news also provided a crushing blow to the appeal of the tournament as the 19th seed became the latest big name withdrawal at Melbourne Park. Kyrgios had played 21-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic in a sold-out charity exhibition at the Rod Laver Arena on Friday.
According to Kyrgios’ physio Will Maher, the highly-entertaining encounter had been used as a ‘gauge’ to see if the Aussie could seriously compete at an elite level in the Grand Slam amid various injury issues after already suffering an ankle problem.
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Kyrgios then pulled out just three days after the exhibition following an MRI scan, where he discovered the cyst in his knee. However, the 27-year-old is only taking positives away from his preparation for his home tournament after raising huge sums for charity in the warm-up match with close friend Djokovic.
“All I take away from it is that three days ago I was able to fill a stadium with Novak and raise a quarter-of-a-million dollars for charity,” he said in an interview with 9 News. “Playing through pain, I gave myself the best chance.
“I gave myself a shot to play but I wasn’t able to do it. The rest is all outside noise. I still think I’ve gone about it the right way. It’s still a successful AO for me in the sense I did a lot of things outside the tennis court which was very important for me. I still feel like I’m part of it.”
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Kyrgios had been on a collision course to face the tournament’s favourite Djokovic once again in a tantalising clash at the quarter-final stage, but admitted in the interview that he was ‘relieved’ to finally make the decision that has been relentlessly playing on his mind.
“My life is a rollercoaster day in, day out. I made a decision. In a way, it’s a relief. I was in two minds for the last week,” he added. “It was so hard waking up, (wondering) whether I was going to play, whether I was not going to play.
“But now I feel I have a clear path moving forward. That’s life, honestly. I’ve been through a lot more struggle than this. It’s sad, but at the same time, I’m happy.”
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