Nick Kyrgios’ hip injury clearly hadn’t recovered enough to compete at the highest level when he retired after dropping two sets against Pierre-Hugues Herbert on Monday in the first round of Wimbledon. The Australian had already admitted that he wasn’t fully fit to compete coming into the tournament. Meanwhile there was no trouble for two-time semifinalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. He joined fellow Frenchman Herbert into the second round with a straight set win 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 over British wildcard Cameron Norrie.
“I kind of knew I was in trouble. I have been feeling my hip ever since I fell over at Queen’s. Never got it right. I was doing everything I could to help it, but just not enough time,” he said after the defeat.
The young Aussie was considered an outside hopeful for the title but he quickly went down 3-6, 4-6 to the Frenchman but never looked comfortably with the match going on. After the two sets, he called for a trainer but after a quick check, Kyrgios stood up and shook hands with Herbert before walking off court.
The 20th seed Kyrgios looked uncomfortable in his movement and barely moved for any of the Frenchman’s peppering of drop shots, lobs and passing shots. He had also pulled out of Queen’s Club tournament.
“I spoke to the doctor before the tournament started. He was leaning towards me not even playing. It’s my favourite tournament. I do well here every year. So it’s tough for me to go out there and get beaten and pull out.”
This is Kyrgios’ earliest exit at Wimbledon with his best showing coming last year where he reached the last-16 before losing to eventual champion Andy Murray. Aussie great Rod Laver thinks Kyrgios can win the prestigious tournament if he could stay injury-free and work out his training routine. Herbert will now take on fellow Frenchman Benoit Paire in the next round.
On Court 2, Tsonga exposed Norrie’s inexperience to hand a brutal and quick exit to the British player who has a Scottish dad and a Welsh mother. There was little trouble for Tsonga despite little playing time in the recent few weeks. He had lost in the opening round at French Open and second round at Queen’s. For Norrie, it was an even lesser time with his only tour level win coming at Eastbourne last week.
“I know how difficult it is to come for the first time to these kind of tournaments against a guy who is supposed to be a lot better than you. It’s not easy,” Tsonga told reporters.