Kyrgios pulls out of French Open with elbow injury
Australian Nick Kyrgios was forced to withdraw from the French Open on Sunday after failing to recover from a right elbow injury, saying a potential five sets on clay was “too risky”.
The 23-year-old was seeded 21st at Roland Garros and was due to play compatriot Bernard Tomic in the first round.
The enigmatic Kyrgios has not played a singles match since a quarter-final loss to Ivo Karlovic at the US Clay Court Championships in April.
“Having consulted with my team and medical experts it is deemed too risky for me to step out and potentially play five sets on clay, especially as I have not played a singles match in nearly two months,” Kyrgios wrote on Twitter.
On Saturday, the world number 23 had claimed a doubles title in Lyon playing alongside American Jack Sock.
Tomic had come through qualifying after a recent slump to 243 in the world rankings to book a clash with Kyrgios which looked set to be one of the best ties of the first round.
It had been billed as a grudge match between two players who have had their fair share of controversial moments, after Kyrgios said last year that childhood friend Tomic had “lost his way”.
But pair will now not meet for the first time as professionals.
“I’ve worked hard to be ready in time and desperately wanted to play Roland Garros, which is very special to me but I literally ran out of time,” added Kyrgios.
“A dramatic spike in load on my elbow could potentially put me back to square one and with the grass court season around the corner it is something I can not and will not risk.”
The two-time Grand Slam quarter-finalist had been hoping to reach the second week in Paris for the first time, after losing in the second round to Kevin Anderson last year.
Kyrgios’ withdrawal means that there will be eight lucky losers in the men’s draw after Egyptian Mohamed Safwat was a last-minute replacement for Viktor Troicki earlier on Sunday, losing to fourth seed Grigor Dimitrov.
Reigning champion Rafael Nadal will also play a lucky loser in Italian Simone Bolelli, after Alexandr Dolgopolov pulled out injured.
A rule change this year has helped the cause of defeated qualifiers at the Slams.
If a player withdraws injured before their scheduled first-round match, they still receive half the prize money while the lucky loser takes the other half.
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