The dream partnership of Nick Kyrgios and Venus Williams could end earlier than tennis fans would have hoped, with the Australian’s stomach injury casting doubt over the rest of his Wimbledon campaign.
Kyrgios and the elder Williams sister formed an unlikely pairing for the mixed doubles competition and got their campaign off to a rollicking start with a 6-3 3-6 7-5 win over Americans Austin Krajicek and Sabrina Santamaria on Saturday morning (AEST).
The duo couldn’t stop smiling throughout the round one contest, laughing it up as they pulled the crowd along for the ride — not to mention everyone at home.
Social media was awash with praise for the dynamic duo as a horde of tennis fans said they’d found their new favourite mixed doubles combination.
But four consecutive days of competitive tennis eventually took its toll on Kyrgios, who following Saturday’s doubles match conceded his body was struggling to keep up.
“Man, I’m hurting,” Kyrgios said.
“Physically, I’m actually getting out of bed and I’m struggling.
“Obviously this sport demands a high amount of preparation and training.
“It’s a physical week. I’m doing the best I can. I’m trying to eat well, I’m trying to get some rest, I’m trying to recover as much as I can, and stay hydrated. I’m doing all the right things.”
On Sunday morning AEST, Kyrgios was forced to retire from his third round singles match against Felix Auger Aliassime due to an abdomen injury.
Speaking to reporters after the shock exit, Kyrgios said it was “heartbreaking” he may have to abandon his upcoming second round doubles match with Williams.
Nick Kyrgios confirms he’s ‘most likely’ out of mixed doubles with Venus Williams: ‘Just pulled out of a match where I was looking like I was dominating. I’m not sure how much improvement. If I got the world’s strongest man’s abs surgically put here, I think I’d need a few days.’
— George Bellshaw (@BellshawGeorge) July 3, 2021
One fears and assumes this is the end of the tremendous Venus-Kyrgios mixed doubles pair as well. #Wimbledon
— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) July 3, 2021
That’s really unfortunate for Kyrgios. He seemed in a decent head space. Confident and happy. Especially when playing mixed with Venus. Will be a shame to have to let her down as well. #Wimbledon
— Daniel Garb (@DanielGarb) July 3, 2021
READ MORE: ‘Disgraceful’ cheat storm rocks Wimbledon
“I’ve got goosebumps just thinking about the fact that I might have to tell Venus Williams that I can’t play mixed doubles because of an injury,” Kyrgios said.
“It’s brutal for me because … I’ve now taken another day of her time. She’s been here, she could have been planning other things. It’s brutal.
“I’m telling you deep down I’m one of the people that will try and do absolutely everything to play doubles.
“It’s tough. I would have been fine to lose today and not be injured, but it’s more heartbreaking like this.”
Kyrgios and Williams are scheduled to face America’s Nicole Melichar and France’s Edouard Roger-Vasselin on Sunday morning at 1.15am AEST.
– with James Matthey
Originally published as ‘Heartbreaking’: Kyrgios’ sad admission