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Rediff.com  » Sports » Painful knee hampers Kyrgios bid for Wimbledon glory

Painful knee hampers Kyrgios bid for Wimbledon glory

June 29, 2023 15:33 IST
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For Nck Kyrgios, his burning desire to win Wimbledon comes from a yearning to prove his worth to a tennis establishment he feels has never accepted him 

IMAGE: For Nck Kyrgios, his burning desire to win Wimbledon comes from a yearning to prove his worth to a tennis establishment he feels has never accepted him. Photograph: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

Tipped by no less than Carlos Alcaraz as the man with the best chance of denying Novak Djokovic the Wimbledon title, Nick Kyrgios is scrambling even to make it onto court at the All England Club.

 

The 28-year-old maverick lost to Djokovic in four sets in last year's Wimbledon final during his best year on tour but an operation on his left knee in January kept him confined to the sidelines until last week.

His return came on grass in Stuttgart, where he lost to world number 59 Wu Yibing and subsequently pulled out of the Halle warm-up complaining of continuing pain from the joint.

Further doubt was cast on his Wimbledon hopes when he then withdrew from the Mallorca grasscourt tournament saying there was 'still a lot going on' with his body.

Although on an upbeat note he did say he would do everything he could to be fit for Wimbledon.

"With Wimbledon just around the corner hopefully I will be able to get healthy for that," he said.

The Australian's determination to once again display his talent on the Wimbledon lawns is an illustration of the huge importance the grasscourt Grand Slam has played in his career.

The leafy corner of southwest London was the scene of two of the biggest highs, his breakthrough run to the quarter-finals as a wildcard debutant in 2014 when he beat Rafael Nadal and his first Grand Slam final last year.

It was also, he revealed recently in the Netflix documentary series Break Point, scene of one of the lowest points of his life after he lost in the second round to Rafael Nadal in 2019.

"I was genuinely contemplating if I wanted to commit suicide," he said.

"I lost at Wimbledon. I woke up and my dad was just sitting on the bed, full-blown crying. That was the big wake-up call for me. I was like, okay, I can't keep doing this. I ended up in a psych ward in London to figure out my problems."

Fortunately, Kyrgios found a way to manage his mental health issues and in the last couple of years has enjoyed a career renaissance, although his injury record remains dire.

At his best, his aggression, flair and one of the most formidable serves on tour make him the match for any player, particularly on grass.

Last year's run to final, even given Nadal withdrew from their semi-final, proved to many doubters that he did have the stamina to make it through to the business end of a Grand Slam fortnight.

Kyrgios may love playing at Wimbledon, but the formality of the All England Club also brings out the rebellious side of his character, which has got him into trouble throughout his career.

Even on his run to the final last year he was fined for verbally abusing a line judge and spitting towards a detractor in the crowd.

For Kyrgios, his burning desire to win Wimbledon comes from a yearning to prove his worth to a tennis establishment he feels has never accepted him.

"I want to prove that I deserve to be here," he added in the Netflix documentary.

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Source: REUTERS
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