Nick Kyrgios has officially ruled himself out from playing the 2024 Australian Open, but the controversial tennis star will be there in a different form – as a commentator.
The 28-year-old crowdpleaser and 2022 Wimbledon finalist was missing from the tournament’s entry list on Wednesday night, but Australian Open boss Craig Tiley hinted the Canberra-born wild child would be at the event in “some form”.
Now Kyrgios, who received a mixed response to his commentary debut on the Tennis Channel last month, has used his new OnlyFans platform to get the surprise news of his withdrawal out to his fans.
“I won’t be able to compete at the 2024 Australian Open,” Kyrgios said in a video. “But even though I won’t be there competing this year at the AO, I still will be around, commentating matches. I’ve got some special things planned, so please be excited.”
The 28-year-old former world No 13, who announced on Friday he had joined the OnlyFans online subscription service with a free content account, used the controversial creator platform to make the announcement which will further polarise tennis fans, many of whom see him as a wasted once-in-a-generation talent.
Kyrgios, who won the Australian Open doubles title alongside good friend Thanasi Kokkinakis in 2022, has barely been on court since October 2022 as he battles various injuries. As of September 11 this year, his ATP ranking had slipped to No 192.
The 28-year-old started 2023 by sitting out the Australian Open because of an injured left knee that required arthroscopic surgery. He went on to miss all four majors in a frustrating season in which he played just one match – a 7-5 6-3 defeat in 68 minutes by China’s Yibing Wu in the first round at Stuttgart back in June.
Kyrgios’s last-minute withdrawal from Wimbledon that same month drew widespread criticism. Having reached the 2022 final against Novak Djokovic in a career-best grand slam result, Kyrgios pulled the pin on the 2023 tournament the day before his first round match against Belgian David Goffin, citing a wrist injury.
Now comes news his start to 2024 is also being delayed due to injury.
Kyrgios told fans he had “had a really tough year with injury… that knee surgery and came back a little too soon (which) set me back a little bit, obviously had some wrist issues. So this is a very disappointing time for me.”
He said the decision to withdraw from the 2024 Australian Open was “heartbreaking”.
“I’ve had so many amazing memories there and I just want to really get back to playing at the top of my game and doing it right and I need a little more time,” Kyrgios said. “I was so close to winning a grand slam, I want to make sure that my body is going to have the time it needs to come back so please bear with me.”
Having not played in six months, Kyrgios’ chances of returning at the Australian Open were always a long-shot. However, Rafael Nadal, Marin Cilic, Denis Shapovalov, Soonwoo Koon, Jiri Vesely, Milos Raonic and Reilly Opelka all locked themselves into the tournament using protected rankings this week despite all battling niggles.
“The update is day-by-day with him,” Australian Open boss Tiley said about Kyrgios. “He’ll be best to assess that ... we’re going to have Nick here in some form or another in January.”