Cramps deny Canberra teen an Open slot
Nick Kyrgios. Photo: Rohan Thomson
Debilitating cramps shattered Nick Kyrgios' Australian Open dream but the Canberra teenager is adamant he has shown he's ready to regularly play against and beat adult men.
Kyrgios was forced to forfeit his quarter-final match at the Australian Open wildcard play-offs in Melbourne on Wednesday when he succumbed to a heavy workload in the fifth set.
In a heartbreaking end to a tournament he was on track to win, Kyrgios was leading when he had to concede to No.8 seed Matthew Barton 7-6 (7-3), 3-6, 6-3, 6-7, (7-5), 3-4.
The pain was so bad he couldn't sit down between games, serve with power and had to be assisted from the court. And making it even more shattering is the fact he effectively forfeited a spot in the Australian Open main draw.
Instead of preparing to line up against the best men in the world for the first time, Kyrgios' focus switches to chasing his first junior singles title at the Australian Open next month.
''I've showed I can compete with the best in Australia, I've just got to improve my fitness and then aim for the main draw next year I guess,'' Kyrgios said.
''I honestly think I'm ready to step up, I played a whole week of under-18 championship before and I thought I was going to win.
''It's strange because I'm pretty shattered, but at the same time it's given me a confidence boost.''
Kyrgios has been in sublime form the past month and is starting to establish himself as one of the players to watch in Australia's next generation of tennis stars.
He won the Australian under-18s championship last week and claimed a big scalp in the wildcard play-offs when he toppled No.1 seed Sam Groth in the opening round.
Having to forfeit to Barton was a bitter pill to swallow after twice fighting from one set behind. . He then put himself in a commanding position in the fifth set, leading 4-0 and a chance to go 5-0 when the cramps set in. At first they were in his quads but they spread.
Kyrgios handed Barton two free games so he could get extra treatment but when they returned with the former Daramalan College student leading 4-3, he couldn't go on.
It's the first year the wildcard qualifying has been played over five sets.
But world junior No.4 Kyrgios - who won the French Open and Wimbledon junior double titles this year - was adamant he could handle the step up.
''I'm hoping some of the coaches down there saw what I produced over the last few days and I'd love to play Davis Cup in the future,'' Kyrgios said. ''I was happy with my performance even though I lost and it's just making me excited to play next year.
''The cramps out there were by far the worst feeling I've had in a while, I couldn't do anything.''
Kyrgios will take a break in Canberra next week before preparing for the Australian Open juniors and a tournament at Traralgon in Victoria next month.