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Nick Kyrgios in doubt for Wimbledon after Halle Open withdrawal

Nick Kyrgios has suffered a further setback in his preparation for a grand slam return at Wimbledon.

Nick Kyrgios has suffered a further setback in his preparation for a grand slam return at Wimbledon. Photo: AAP

Nick Kyrgios has withdrawn from this week’s Halle Open grasscourt tournament, putting a major question mark over his fitness to compete at Wimbledon.

The Australian, who reached last year’s final at Wimbledon, was announced on Monday as a non-starter in the German warm-up event, with his long-standing knee injury cited as the reason by the ATP.

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.”

The 28-year-old only made his comeback to action last week after being sidelined for seven months following knee surgery but he looked to be struggling badly as he went out in the first round in Stuttgart, beaten by a grasscourt novice Wu Yibing 7-5 6-3.

The match was Kyrgios’ first tour-level singles match since October, excluding an exhibition appearance in Saudi Arabia in December.

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: “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.”

It looks as if it may no be in time for another crack at Wimbledon which begins in two weeks.

He had been due to play Lorenzo Sonego in Tuesday’s opening round but withdrew on the eve of his match.

-AAP

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