Kyrgios Latest To Shut Down Season With Injury

Nick Kyrgios (photo: Michael Dickens)

WASHINGTON, September 30, 2021 (by Michael Dickens)

Nick Kyrgios has pulled the plug on his 2021 season, just days after competing at the Laver Cup. In an Instagram Stories post this week, the mercurial Australian cited a knee injury – specifically left knee patella tendinopathy. He will not play again this season so that he can rest the injured knee in hopes of being ready for the Australian Open at the start of next season.

Kyrgios, 26, wrote: “Over the past couple months I haven’t been 100 percent healthy. I’ve been dealing with left knee patella tendinopathy and continuing to play without treating it can lead to further pain and greater setbacks.

“I’ve chosen to fly back to Australia to reassess and am planning to get PRP treatment to settle down and rehab my knee.

“I’m disappointed it has kept me from playing my best tennis and hopefully with everything going smoothly I’ll be back to 100 percent by the Australian Open. All love.”

Kyrgios joins Roger Federer (knee), Rafael Nadal (foot), and Dominic Thiem (wrist), whose 2021 seasons were cut short due to injuries.

This season, Kyrgios appeared in just seven tournaments plus the Laver Cup and compiled a 7-8 win-loss record. Currently ranked 96th, he ended his year on a five-match losing streak. He last five losses came against Stefanos Tsitsipas (Laver Cup), Cameron Norrie (Atlanta), Mackenzie McDoland (Washington, D.C.), Reilly Opelka (Toronto) and Roberto Bautista Agut (US Open). He reached the third round in the Australian Open and Wimbledon (retiring with abdominal issues) while skipping Roland Garros.

During last weekend’s Laver Cup exhibition in Boston, Kyrgios lost to Tsitsipas, 6-3, 6-4, and teamed with John Isner during a 6-7 (8), 6-3, 10-4 loss to Tsitsipas and Andrey Rublev.

Djokovic withdraws from Indian Wells

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, who has been idle since losing the final of the US Open earlier this month, has withdrawn from next week’s BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Calif. The World No. 1, who is a five-time champion at Indian Wells, would have been the top seed at the ATP Masters 1000 event in the California palm desert. He joins WTA World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty, who withdrew earlier this week, as a no-show in Indian Wells this year.

“I am sorry I won’t get to see my fans in Indian Wells and play in the desert, my favorite place to go. I hope to see you next year!” Djokovic wrote on his social media platforms Wednesday evening.

The BNP Paribas Open was postponed last March when the annual event is usually held due to the coronavirus pandemic. It was rescheduled for Oct. 6-17.

Murray happy to be playing week after week

In his third straight tournament since the US Open, Great Britain’s Andy Murray set up a second-round meeting Thursday evening with San Diego Open second seed Casper Ruud of Norway, ranked World No. 10, after beating lucky loser Denis Kudla of the United States, 6-3, 6-2, Tuesday night. Kudla, ranked 94th, was a late replacement for Japan’s Kei Nishikori, who withdrew earlier Tuesday with a lower back injury.

“I’d practiced with Denis a few times but I don’t think we’d ever played a match before, so it’s not easy,” the 109th-ranked Murray said during an on-court interview after his win. He’s playing this week after receiving a wild card into the main draw. “[I tried] to ask around a few of the player sto get a few tips on what his strengths are, his weaknesses, but it’s not easy for him.”

According to Murray, Kudla was on his was to Los Angeles by car when he found out he would play the former World No. 1. “It’s not like he’s hanging around here, so obviously, a great effort for him to come back and play,” he said.

Murray’s victory over Kudla improved his win-loss record to 9-8 going into Thursday’s tussle with Ruud. He said in his on-court interview: “I think first and foremost it’s great to be on the court healthy and competing week after week for the first time since 2017. It’s been a long time. I’m starting to feel better with each match. The ranking is not the No. 1 priority, but I’ve had some tough draws in the last few months.

“Obviously, if your ranking gets high enough you can start to get seeded in event and you avoid that. I want to try and win to push my ranking up to give myself a better chance of having a deep run in some of the major tournaments again.”

Once upon a time, there was Serena and Puma

As 23-time major singles champion Serena Williams turned 40 on Sunday, last week in the lead up to her birthday, there were many stories written about the future Hall of Famer. For many years, Williams has been synominous with iconic American apparel brand Nike. However, before there was Serena and Nike, there was Serena and Puma. At 16, Williams took a chance on Puma. Aaron Dodson wrote the little-known story of Serena Williams’ first endorsement deal for The Undefeated. It’s a tremendous read and worth a few minutes of your time.

Passing shots

Chicago Fall Tennis Classic top seed Elina Svitolina won her sixth straight match in the Second City on Wednesday. The World No. 6 from Ukraine beat No. 82 Amanda Anisimova of the United States, 6-4, 6-3, to advance to the third round against No. 98 Elena-Gabriela Ruse of Romania. Last month, Svitolina strung together five straight wins to capture the Chicago Women’s Open, a WTA 250 event.

• San Diego Open top seed Andrey Rublev, fresh off his outstanding performance for Team Europe in last weekend’s Laver Cup competition, put on a masterclass against American wild card Brandon Nakashima during his 6-2, 6-1 second-round victory Wednesday evening. The World No. 5 from Russia hit five aces, won 78 percent (21 of 27) of his first-serve points and won 78 percent (14 of 18) of his second return points. He outscored the 83rd-ranked Nakashima 60-39 during the 63-minute victory to advance to Friday’s quarterfinal round.

• The International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, Rhode Island announced this week that US Open women’s champion Emma Raducanu has donated her the outfit she wore in winning the US Open title to the ITHF collection.

By the numbers

Sebastian Korda of the United States is one of four players who have qualified for the Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan, Italy, which will take place November 9-13. Korda is currently ranked fourth with 1,145 points.

The others who have already qualified are: No. 1-ranked Felix Auger-Aliassime of Canada, 2,320 points; 2. Jannik Sinner of Italy, 2,255 points; and 3. Carlos Alcaraz of Spain, 1,264 points.

The rest of the Top 10 in the Race to Milan standings: 5. Jenson Brooksby, U.S., 877 points; 6. Lorenzo Musetti, Italy, 876; 7. Juan Cerundolo, Argentina, 658; 8. Brandon Nakashima, U.S., 641; 9. Holger Rune, Denmark, 600; 10. Hugo Gaston, France, 507.

“Quotable …”

“It’s probably one of the toughest 250s I’ve played in a a really long time. I’ve had quite a few of those ones, but it’s been a while since I’ve seen such a field.”

Grigor Dimitrov, currently ranked 29th, on its week’s field at the ATP 250 San Diego Open. Dimitrov rallied to beat Marton Fucsovics 6-3, 1-6, 7-5 to the second round against third seed Felix Auger-Aliassime.

“I’m just having fun. A year ago, I was ranked 220 in the world. Now, I’m 42 in the world. It’s been a big jump for me and [I am] just having fun.”

Sebastian Korda, 21, after defeating fellow American Tommy Paul, 6-3, 5-7, 6-1, on Tuesday to reach the second round of the San Diego Open. Next, he will play 23rd-ranked Lorenzo Sonego of Italy, who is seeded ninth.

What they’re sharing on social media

Elina Svitolina / A warm welcome from Chicago Ukrainians


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