In the lead up to the highly-anticipated Australian Open, tennis sensation Nick Kyrgios has unveiled a side rarely seen by fans –one of vulnerability.
The controversial sporting figure, known for his on-court theatrics and off-court charisma, recently confessed to being left heartbroken following the unexpected withdrawal of his longtime rival and tennis legend, Rafael Nadal.
The news of Nadal’s absence from the upcoming Grand Slam sent shockwaves through the tennis world, with fans and players alike grappling with the sudden turn of events.
However, Kyrgios, known for his outspoken nature, has gone beyond the typical sportsmanship facade to reveal the impact Nadal’s withdrawal has had on him.
“I know how hard he would have worked in the last year getting healthy,” Kyrgios said.
“He wants to just play grand slams. That’s always been my fear, going out of the sport not on your terms where your body starts to tell you you’re maybe past it.
“And Rafa is someone who is so important to the sport and it just takes time.
“It broke my heart seeing that.”
Nadal was forced to withdraw from the Australian Open due to injury following a physically demanding three-and-a-half-hour battle with Australian Jordan Thompson.
The 22-time Grand Slam champion took to social media on Sunday, January 7 to deliver the devastating news to his fans worldwide.
“Hi all, during my last match in Brisbane I had a small problem on a muscle that as you know made me worried,” Nadal posted on X, formerly Twitter.
“Once I got to Melbourne I have had the chance to make an MRI and I have micro tear on a muscle, not in the same part where I had the injury and that’s good news.
“Right now I am not ready to compete at the maximum level of exigence (sic, excellence) in 5 sets matches.
“I’m flying back to Spain to see my doctor, get some treatment and rest.”
Despite the commendable display of sportsmanship in his empathetic comments about Nadal’s withdrawal, Kyrgios found himself at the centre of contrasting fan reactions after a seemingly harmless social media post didn’t sit well with tennis fans.
The drama kicked off when Nadal had to bow out of the Australian Open due to a hip injury. Kyrgios shared a sympathetic message about Nadal’s setback, casually slipping in his own injury struggles.
Feel for Rafa man 😢💔 get better soon, that was the fear for me as well, coming back a little too soon…
— Nicholas Kyrgios (@NickKyrgios) January 7, 2024
Although the message seemed genuine enough, some fans were rubbed the wrong way by part of his message with a number fans accusing the 28 year old of making Nadal’s setback about himself.