Kyrgios is refusing to consider surgery despite a chronic hip injury once again cruelling his grand slam hopes at Wimbledon.
The world No.20 conceded pre-tournament he was only “60, 65 per cent” fit after aggravating the long-standing 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 last night, Australian time, his forlorn body language and restricted movement depicting a player not equipped to go the distance.
And he didn’t, calling it quits after 65 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 and was undermined by the same injury at last month’s French Open.
Countryman Bernard Tomic bit the bullet and went under the knife with a similar issue four years ago, but Kyrgios is refusing to go down that path amid locker-room talk that surgery seems his best solution.
“Probably not at the moment. I got too much stuff going on,” said Kyrgios, who is planning on pressing ahead with plans to contest the American hardcourt season, including the US Open before spearheading Australia’s Davis Cup semi-final in September in Belgium.
“I don’t think anyone wants to go down the surgery route. I had it right after Paris. I wasn’t feeling it at all.
“When I initially got on the grass, I wasn’t feeling my hip at all.
“The first set (at Queen’s) when I played against Donald Young, it was fine. I couldn’t feel anything.
“I was playing great. I was feeling good. Then it just all got taken away pretty quickly.”
A Wimbledon quarter-finalist on debut in 2014, Kyrgios’s exit will also likely 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 always knew he’d face a tough time against Herbert.
On paper, the world No.70 is more a doubles specialist, having won two grand slam titles with fellow Frenchman Nicolas Mahut – including Wimbledon last year.
But he’s no singles mug either.
He’s won nine matches on the hallowed grass courts over the past four years and showed from the outset he’d be no 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.
Australia’s 20th seed continued to play hit-and-miss tennis in the second set and didn’t even 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.
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.
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