MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Nick Kyrgios said he is bowing out of the Australian Open with his head held high after losing to world number two Daniil Medvedev on Thursday, having recovered from COVID-19 just before the season’s opening Grand Slam.
Fan-favourite Kyrgios lost 7-6(1) 6-4 4-6 6-2 to Medvedev in the second round despite having the home support firmly behind him. He had pulled out of the Sydney Tennis Classic earlier this month due to COVID-19.
The mercurial Australian, who revealed last year he was unsure how long he would continue to play professional tennis, said he was proud of what he had accomplished in the past few months.
“I’m super proud of my performance today. From where I was with my struggles the last four-five months, to be feeling like this and obviously had COVID a couple days before — I’m just proud of the way I responded,” Kyrgios told reporters.
“I wouldn’t have been able to do it without my team, as well… I gave it everything, I put on a good performance.”
Kyrgios said he “threw everything I could” at Medvedev but admitted the Russian was too good for him, adding that the U.S. Open champion was playing with a high level of consistency and confidence, and could even go all the way in Melbourne.
“Obviously I believe that matchup-wise, I think if you asked everyone on tour, they would probably vote him the best player in the world at the moment,” Kyrgios added.
“He doesn’t drop his level, he shows up every game, plays — I think no matter what the score is or how much pressure he’s under he never kind of gets flustered. He just has so much belief in his game.”
Kyrgios said his next stop was February’s Dallas Open but the 26-year-old did not say if this would be his last year on tour.
“I don’t know what I’m going to be doing in a year’s time,” he said. “I’ll probably be planning to play, but I’m just thinking about tonight and tomorrow. Staying with my feet up.”
(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; editing by Pritha Sarkar)