MELBOURNE, Australia – A tough draw eliminated Aussie Nick Kyrgios from the Australian Open men’s singles in the first round.
But on Wednesday, he was back on the practice court and back on the match court in doubles, with his friend Matt Reid.
The two had an equally tough draw there. They faced the No. 13 seeds, Ivan Dodig and Édouard Roger-Vasselin.
There’s a hole when a popular Aussie is eliminated from the tournament. Even with Novak Djokovic or Rafael Nadal or Serena Williams playing, an Aussie in action here always creates extra buzz.
That’s evidenced by the early TV ratings for Canadian Milos Raonic’s win over Kyrgios on Melbourne Arena Wednesday night.
According to new Australian Open official broadcaster Channel 9, Kyrgios-Raonic crushed it.
(“9GEM” is a subsidiary channel, although it’s available free-to-air, while Kyrgios’s match was shown on the main channel, 9).
Kyrgios knee ongoing
Kyrgios had some simple black tape on his right knee for the doubles warmup.
For the match, he ended up with the more comprehensive effort he had in the latter stages of his singles match against Raonic.
From being the center of attention on Melbourne Arena Tuesday night, Kyrgios was just meters away from that big venue Wednesday. But he was on arguably the most modest practice court there is, No. 23.
The pair was sharing the court, too, with Americans Ryan Harrison and Sam Querrey.
After the loss to Raonic, Kyrgios wasn’t looking any further than the doubles.
“I’m still in the tournament. I got doubles tomorrow. All my focus goes in there. I’m going to come out there, just bluff my way through a doubles match, see how it goes. Obviously playing with one of my best mates again, which is pretty special. I know this means a lot to him, being part of the Australian Open, playing doubles,” Kyrgios said. “That’s all I’m focusing on. It’s going to be a lot of fun. I don’t know what I’m going to do yet honestly. Obviously I’d like to play well.”
Reid, ranked No. 115 in doubles, acquitted himself beautifully. Kyrgios was up and down. When he missed a sitter volley (his third of the point, with his nose practically over the net) in the middle of the second-set tiebreaker, he said to Reid, “That was the worst miss of my career. LITERALLY the worst miss of my career.”
Which was pretty funny. Except the scoreboard wasn’t so funny.
The Aussie pair went down 6-2, 7-6 (2). And so his Australian Open is done.
Davis Cup? Only Lleyton knows
Kyrgios said he was available for Davis Cup. But he didn’t think he’d be selected for Australia’s qualifying-round match against Bosnia-Herzegovina on Feb. 1-2 in Adelaide.
“I don’t think I’d be picked. There’s a lot of good players right now. Obviously De Minaur, Millman, they’re all playing great. There’s a lot of depth, which is pretty good for us,” Kyrgios said.
The Aussie dropped out of the top 50 after failing to defend his 2018 Brisbane title (he lost in the second round). And with a fourth-round effort from 2018 coming off the computer, he could be out of the top 70 depending on what some other players still in the draw do.
The Aussie didn’t play a Tour event between the Australian Open and Miami last year. So there’s an opportunity to make up a little ground. Kyrgios’s ranking hasn’t been this low since he was ranked No. 144 just before Wimbledon in 2014.
He is entered in Rotterdam the week of Feb. 11, and Acapulco two weeks later.