After losing his opening-round match at Louis Armstrong Stadium on Wednesday and smashing his racket in frustration, it took Nick Kyrgios a few moments to stuff the busted racket into his tennis bag.
Kyrgios, ranked No. 17 and the 14th-seed at the U.S. Open, fell to fellow Australian John Millman, 6-3, 1-6, 6-4, 6-1. The world No. 235, Millman advances to face Malek Jaziri in the second round. The fact that all Kyrgios was left with was a bent racket to awkwardly carry neatly summarized his afternoon.
The 22-year-old struggled with his right shoulder during the match — the same injury he cited when he retired from his opening-round match at Washington’s Citi Open at the beginning of this month — and received a warning for swearing on court and a point penalty for the racket-smash after dropping the third set.
He ends his Grand Slam season after a turbulent 2017 in which he never made it past the second round of a major and dealt with various injuries — a hip issue caused him to retire from his opening-round match at Wimbledon. Although Kyrgios did have some success at bigger ATP events throughout the season, reaching the quarterfinals at the tournament in Indian Wells, the semifinals in Miami and the finals at a tournament this month in Cincinnati, he was despondent when reflecting on his season after the loss in New York.
“I mean, obviously I’m not having a shocking year,” Kyrgios said. “Obviously in this scheme of things I’m not having the greatest year for what maybe people, like, I should have done, but, I mean, the last three months has been a nightmare, really. I have said it before. I had such a good Indian Wells, Miami and then Davis Cup, we had a good win over America, and then, you know, things just went downhill from there, really. Obviously I’m disappointed I lost today. It’s not the end of the world. I will get over it in probably half an hour. I will get food and watch the matches. It is what it is.”
Kyrgios said he felt healthy at the beginning of the match but tweaked his shoulder serving early in the third set. He had called the trainer over twice to receive treatment — the maximum amount of treatment allowed in a match — by the end of the third. At one point he used a ballboy to try to stretch out.
Asked after the match if he would continue working with Coach Sebastien Grosjean, Kygrios spoke of his lack of commitment.
“I don’t know, honestly. I’m not good enough for him,” he said. “You know, he’s very dedicated. He’s an unbelievable coach. You know, he probably deserves a player that is probably more dedicated to the game than I am. He deserves a better athlete than me … I’m not dedicated to the game at all. You know, he’s helped me a lot, especially with the training, in training sessions.
“But, I mean, there are players out there that are more dedicated, that want to get better, that strive to get better every day, the one-percenters. I’m not that guy … I don’t know, I don’t know. I keep letting people down. So I don’t know.”