Nick Kyrgios is withdrawing from the Japan Open due to knee pain but says a move could save his season

Nick Kyrgios believes his “heartbreaking” call to withdraw from the Japan Open may also have been wise, giving him a restful launchpad for a powerful European conclusion to his breakthrough season.

Australia’s Wimbledon finalist sacrificed two titles in Tokyo when an ominous stitch in his knee prompted him to withdraw just before the quarterfinals against American Taylor Fritz.

WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: Kyrgios stuns the crowd with the winner on the internet.

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That meant he also had to give up his doubles semi-final alongside fellow Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis, ending a successful week that had looked like a second singles title of the year.

Instead, the 27-year-old had to fly home to Australia to rest his vulnerable left knee, which often caused him problems.

Still, he remains convinced the difficult decision could go in his favor as he plans a spectacular conclusion to his 2022 campaign on European hard courts.

Nick Kyrgios waves goodbye to crowds in Tokyo after his retirement ahead of the match against Taylor Fritz. (AP PHOTO) Recognition: AP

“Obviously very disappointing, it’s one of my favorite tournaments, I have great memories here,” said Kyrgios, who was still excited about a great week with his team in the Japanese capital the day before.

“But undressing is the smart option for my body. I still have a few events coming up in the year and I want to do well at them, so I have to be smart.”

Kyrgios plans to play the ATP 500 Basel Open at the end of October and also has his sights set on one of the big prizes of the season at the Paris Masters in Bercy the following week.

The Canberra maverick has played consistently well in a campaign where he has begun to live up to expectations and has appeared undeterred by off-court controversy.

It was crowned by his run to the Wimbledon final and a tournament triumph in Washington, and he is adamant there will not be a disappointing end to his season.

“I’m expecting some big things from myself for the rest of the year. I don’t want to leave and wait until the Australian Open,” he said in Tokyo earlier this week. “I want to stay on the road”

Nick Kyrgios in action during the Rakuten Japan Open in Tokyo. Recognition: Koji Watanabe/Getty Images

So his season could still end as it began, with a big double triumph alongside Kokkinakis.

The ‘Special Ks’ won the Australian Open together in January and could lift the season-ending ATP Finals Cup in November if all goes well.

And Kyrgios, not one of life’s great coaches, was quick to downplay the idea that his withdrawal was a sign of ongoing physical vulnerability.

“I know in that case (undressing) is probably more of a strain than not being fit enough. I think it’s almost too excited to go out on the pitch and maybe train a little too much.

“It’s positive, but heartbreaking at the same time.”

Nevertheless, his annoying knee should remain a problem. “I’ve had to deal with this my whole career and sometimes it wakes up pretty average.

“And when I warmed up with Thanasi, it just didn’t feel ideal.”

Will Brown fences in Commodore in wet Bathurst practice.

Will Brown fences in Commodore in wet Bathurst practice. Nick Kyrgios is withdrawing from the Japan Open due to knee pain but says a move could save his season

James Brien

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