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  • Dan Crouch

Kyrgios out of Halle but still hopes to play Wimbledon


Nick Kyrgios is hopeful he will be healthy for Wimbledon. Picture: James Ross.

Nick Kyrgios has withdrawn from this week's Halle Open, but as doubts grew over his fitness for Wimbledon, last year's finalist insisted he was still hopeful of competing in the grass-court grand slam.


The Australian star was announced on Monday as a non-starter in the German warm-up event for the slam, citing his long-standing knee injury as the reason. But in a press release and video issued by the Halle organisers, the 28-year-old was still remaining upbeat. 


"Very unfortunate news. I won't be able to compete at Halle this year. I'm still dealing with a couple of things with my knee. Just trying to give myself the best opportunity to compete at Wimbledon," said Kyrgios. 


"As you all know, that tournament means a lot to me and I just want to do everything right by my body."

"I tried everything here in Halle the last couple of days, but then I had to make the decision to pull out. I want, when I play, to deliver a performance like last year when I was in the semi-finals. But that will really not be possible."


Kyrgios only made his comeback to action last week after being sidelined all season following knee surgery but he looked to be struggling badly as he went out in the first round in Stuttgart, beaten by a grass-court newcomer Wu Yibing 7-5 6-3.


Moving around the court gingerly, Kyrgios looked as if he might have been making his comeback too early, and was clearly reluctant to race around the court.


During the changeover after the third game of the second set Kyrgios could be overheard saying to his team: "I feel my knee every point. I can't walk without pain."


After hobbling off the court, the man from Canberra wrote on social media last week: "Be patient with me my fans please. It's a process to get back to where I was. 


"I know it's hard for you to see me perform like today, but I need more time and hopefully can get back to where I was."

Halle organisers said Kyrgios had since felt a recurrence of the knee issue while training there.


So whether the man who took the peerless Novak Djokovic to four sets in last year's Wimbledon final can now be in any shape to do himself justice again still looks unlikely with the slam beginning in two weeks.


He had been due to play Lorenzo Sonego in Tuesday's opening round in Halle but his withdrawal has allowed Russian Aslan Karatsev, the former Australian Open semi-finalist, to step into his place as a lucky loser.


If Kyrgios decides to also bypass the ATP events in Mallorca or Eastbourne next week, the last chance for him to get in the competitive groove, he will go into Wimbledon having played just one tour match - a losing one - in nine months.


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