Nick Kyrgios needed medical treatment during the match and eventually retired. (Reuters: Tony O’Brien)
Nick Kyrgios has succumbed to his chronic hip injury, retiring from his first-round Wimbledon match against Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert after less than an hour.
Kyrgios conceded pre-tournament he was only “60, 65 per cent” fit after aggravating the longstanding injury during an on-court fall at the Queen’s Club lead-up event a fortnight ago.
The writing was on the wall from the moment he stepped on to court on Monday with his forlorn body language and restricted movement depicting a player not equipped to go the distance.
He called it quits after 58 minutes when trailing 6-3 6-4.
The 22-year-old also retired from his third-round encounter at last year’s US Open with a hip issue, leaving the world No 20 facing the difficult decision of whether or not to undergo surgery or continue to battle on with the chronic injury.
A Wimbledon quarter-finalist on debut in 2014, the world No 20’s exit will also precipitate a further rankings fall after he had soared to a career-high 13th late last year and then opened 2017 with a blazing run on US hard courts.
Kyrgios will inevitably be asked why he even tried to play Herbert given he was not fit.
Kyrgios’ retirement took Herbert’s singles tally at Wimbledon to 10 match wins. (Reuters: Tony O’Brien)
On paper, Herbert is more a doubles specialist, having won two grand slam titles with fellow Frenchman Nicolas Mahut — including Wimbledon last year.
But he is no singles mug either, having won nine matches on the hallowed grass courts over the past four years and showed from the outset he would not be a pushover.
Kyrgios laboured through the opening set, dropping serve in the eighth game with his second double-fault before the Frenchman took it after only 26 minutes with an easy love hold.
He continued to play hit-and-miss tennis in the second set and did not bother attempting to reach some of Herbert’s winners.
He dropped serve for a second time when, facing break point, he was unable to move forward to retrieve a short return from the world No 70.
He hung his head in his towel at the changeover, then wiped away tears as he returned to the court.
The next changeover, when clearly resigned to his fate, Kyrgios whacked his racquet against the net post before again wallowing in his chair.
The crestfallen Canberran called for treatment after going two sets down before finally conceding defeat.