World No. 21 Alex de Minaur was forced to retire from the Australian Open on Thursday with an abdominal injury, stealing the individual cadre of men from one of his strongest local challengers. The Australian No. 1 aggravated abdominal tension during the ATP Cup and was also forced to withdraw from Adelaide International this week.
The 20-year-old, who reached the third round at Melbourne Park and won three ATP Tour titles last year, admitted that despite intensive treatment, he was not fit enough to compete in his Grand Slam at home. “Even getting out of bed hurts,” he told reporters in Melbourne Park. “Although he killed me, it’s the right decision.
“It is quite devastating to lose my stroke at home. I wanted to go out and play, even though I have a 4cm grade two break. It’s not a joke, it’s something really serious … Almost everyone around me told me that I shouldn’t play and I was still planning to go out and, if necessary, serve the armpits or 120 km / h or do what I can. I just didn’t want to lose playing here. But the long-term risks if they got worse [were too great], so it was the smart decision and the right decision. “
While the local Ash Barty will be the best seeded in the women’s singles, Nick Kyrgios will now be the best ranked Australian in the men’s draw at number 26 in the world. Former Australian number 17 Bernard Tomic fell from the first qualifying round in Melbourne Park this week complaining of breathing difficulties in the smoke from the forest fire.
Kyrgios completed his open warm-up with a 6-4, 6-2 victory over Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov in the Kooyong Classic, delivering 13 aces in a dominant performance. He then said he was “shattered” upon hearing that De Minaur had not been able to recover on time, attributing to his Australian teammates in the ATP Cup for his positive start of the year.
“The ATP Cup was an incredible event, just to spend the first few weeks with the boys, some of my closest teammates,” he said after his victory in Kooyong. “I think we all get infected, we all bring good energy.”
Kyrgios was a first-round casualty at Melbourne Park last year, with its best result in 2015 when it reached the quarterfinals. But he felt he was playing well enough to deepen again.
“I feel it is a new year, a clean slate, but I was putting a lot of work at home,” said the 24-year-old. “I’m not going to push myself too hard. Looking back in 2019, it was very difficult for me on and off the court and this year I want to have a positive outlook, whether I lose the first round or run. Because of the way I am playing now, I feel that I can advance a bit in the tournament. “
He also said that his participation in the collection of money for the victims of the forest fire crisis had been his main focus, and that he would play next week for that cause as much as he did. A tweet from Kyrgios during the fires began an avalanche of donations with the tennis community raising almost $ 5 million.
“It was crazy that a Canberra boy posted a tweet and gathered so much strength and in a couple of weeks it was amazing how many people around the world were willing to help,” he said. “It’s been a couple of emotional weeks for me. All I’m doing and what I’m playing for is that at the moment.”
With a suspended ATP sentence of 16 weeks and a fine suspended over his head, which will not be applied during the ITF Australian Open, Kyrgios has had his best behavior so far this summer.
He said he wanted to be a better role model for children and would do everything possible to avoid problems during the Open. “I have to try to control my temper safely, but at the end of the day I am human,” he said.