Kyrgios and Demon now both on injury comeback trail

Alex de Minaur has been urged to rest up and come back stronger by Nick Kyrgios as Australia’s two top tennis men both now have to overcome injury woes to recover for the final grand slam of the year in New York.

De Minaur, still reeling from the “freak” torn hip cartilage injury that forced him out of Wimbledon, has been told he could be out for three to six weeks, which would effectively ruin any hope of him playing at the Olympics in Paris in 17 days.

Yet while talking of his devastation at having to pull out before the biggest match of his career in a maiden Wimbledon quarter-final against Novak Djokovic, de Minaur also offered a bit of potentially encouraging news about Kyrgios’s injury struggles.

“I've seen him hitting. I think it looks like he's feeling a little better,” de Minaur said of the 2022 Wimbledon finalist, who is working as a BBC commentator at the event.

“As far as I know, I think the US hard-court season is when he's planning to return. I don't know the exact specifics, but it will all be depending on his injury and how he's feeling.”

Kyrgios has not played a match since he pulled out on the eve of last year’s Wimbledon as he has been plagued by wrist, knee and foot injuries.

Nick Kyrgios.
Injuries have kept Nick Kyrgios out of action since he withdrew ahead of Wimbledon in 2023.

But the 29-year-old was sure de Minaur, who had been told he risked being out for four months if he aggravated the injury in a match, made the right decision in pulling out of the Djokovic contest.

“Alex de Minaur is playing the best tennis of his life,” Kyrgios said on the BBC.

“He has a great medical team and I would not advise him to go out there and play and potentially miss the remainder of the season, when he is probably one of the favourites to go deep at the US Open as well. 

"So I think he has made the right decision.”

Kyrgios had been due to commentate on the match, noting: “The way Novak and Demon have been playing, I think it would have at least been a four- or five-setter. I was going to call it, so I was super excited.”

It could be, then, that both players end up targeting the US Open in August as their most realistic point of return, though de Minaur admits the rarity of his injury meant it was difficult to know exactly how long a full recovery would take.

“The tear needs to naturally heal, and then there's the process of rehabbing the area around it and kind of helping it be safe,'' he said.

“So I've got to do exercises that don't irritate the area more and allow it to heal. That's why it's kind of all up to myself and my body, how quickly it heals.

“In the past with similar injuries like I've had with osteitis pubis, I've come back sooner than expected, so I'm hoping that's the case for this one as well.”

What is most upsetting for de Minaur is that next week he will be ranked, for the first time, among the world’s top six amid the best season of his career.

“What hurts so much more is knowing I’m so close, closer than ever before,” he said. 

But 2021 women’s champion Ash Barty believes this is just a temporary blip.

“Alex’s journey the last couple years has been astronomical,'' the Australian said.

“He belongs in the top 10. He belongs in the quarter-finals, semi-finals, latter stages of grand slams. This won't be the first time he's in a quarters here. He'll get another opportunity.”

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