Nick Kyrgios retired from his opening match at Wimbledon with a hip injury after falling down two sets to world No. 70 Pierre Hugues-Herbert.
Heading into the tournament—played on grass, Kyrgios’s preferred surface— the world No. 20 was already hobbled by a hip injury he tweaked two weeks ago when he took a nasty spill on the grass courts at the Queen’s Club Championships. That injury also forced him to cede his match prematurely. Prior to Monday’s match, Kyrgios said his was no more than 65 percent healthy, per the Guardian.
Still, even with the hip injury, Kyrgios appeared to be holding his own during his first set against the 26-year-old Frenchman. Come the seventh game of the set, though, Kyrgios fell apart. Holding a 40-15 advantage, Kyrgios double-faulted, opening the window for Hugues-Herbert, who notched the first set break. Kyrgios double-faulted three times before the match’s end.
Hugues-Herbert, looking to advance to the second round of a Grand Slam singles tournament for the first time in his career, was masterful off the serve, claiming 82 percent of his points on first serve, per the Guardian. No doubt noticing Kyrgios’s growing discomfort, the French player forced the Australian all over the court with strategic drop shots. He also snuck a pair of serves past Kyrgios in the fourth game of the second set that the world No. 20 barely even tried to return. By the time Hugues-Herbert took a 4-3 lead in the second set, Kyrgios opted to watch his opponent’s backhand bounce past him rather than give chase. Three points and a two-game deficit later, Kyrgios signaled for his trainer and his day was done.
At his post-match presser, Kyrgios said “I kind of knew I was in trouble” early on, claiming that he didn’t have enough to time between Queen’s and Wimbledon to rehab his hip and “never really got it right.” Kyrgios added that his doctor advised against him playing the tournament, but the 22-year-old wanted to try out his hip at what he called his favorite tournament.
The first-round departure marks Kyrgios’s earliest exit from Wimbledon in what was his fourth time competing in the tournament—he famously knocked off Rafael Nadal en route to advancing to the quarterfinals in his first foray at the English Grand Slam in 2014. Both of his last two Wimbledons ended in the fourth round.