Nick Kyrgios dropped a huge hint yesterday that he will skip the French Open, saying the chances of him travelling to Europe this year were “slim to none”.
The opinionated Australian last week pulled out of the upcoming US Open in New York due to the coronavirus pandemic, with world number two Rafael Nadal following suit.
Kyrgios, ranked just 40 but a big drawcard, said he wasn’t surprised by the Spaniard’s decision, noting that the clay court king was likely “eyeing the French Open” in late September.
“And if I was to play I’d probably definitely rather go to Europe (than America) at this time of year for sure with everything going on,” he added to Channel Nine television from his Canberra base.
But Kyrgios suggested that was also unlikely, casting serious doubt over his presence at Roland Garros.
“It’s a very slim chance I’ll play in Europe. Almost slim to none to be honest,” he said.
“I’m going to use this (time) to stay home, train, be with my family, be with my friends and I’m just going to act responsibly, and wait till I think there’s better circumstances to play.”
Kyrgios also cast doubt on next year’s Australian Open, scheduled for January, as host city Melbourne battles a major outbreak that has triggered a stay-at-home lockdown and curfew. “I’m not too sure the Australian Open will be going ahead as it did at the start of the year with the pandemic in Melbourne,” he said.
“It’s sad times in Melbourne so I’m not too sure if the Australian Open will go on.”
Kyrgios has been vocal in his criticism of some other players during the pandemic, waging a social media battle with top names who played at Novak Djokovic’s ill-fated Adria Tour exhibition. Djokovic, Grigor Dimitrov, Borna Coric and Viktor Troicki all tested positive for the Covid-19 illness after the event, where social distancing was minimal and some players went nightclubbing.
The Serbian world number one, Austrian Dominic Thiem, Coric and Alexander Zverev have all been in Kyrgios’s firing line and he lobbed another missile, without naming any players, yesterday.
“Their behaviour throughout this time, I don’t think has been great at all. Especially coming from some of our leaders of the sport,” Kyrgios said. “On top of our game they’re supposed to be setting an example for the rest of the tour, and them coming back at me with behaviour that I’ve done on court, I mean it just shows their intellectual level to be honest.
“Putting lives at risk, it’s not really comparable.”
Alexandrova knocked out by Ferro
Russian eighth seed Ekaterina Alexandrova was upset 7-5 6-2 by Frenchwoman Fiona Ferro in the second round of the Palermo Ladies Open on Wednesday.
Ferro’s win was only the second of her career against a player in the top 30 as she earned 12 break points in the contest and converted five to reach the quarter-finals. Despite some early nerves when she was broken in her first service game, the 23-year-old Ferro did not show signs of rust playing in the first tournament since tennis restarted after a five-month shutdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I didn’t really rest between March and May because I have a court at home where I can practise,” Ferro told reporters.
“I think it was a good match from me today. I had a slow start because she has really powerful shots, it took a bit of time to get used to this. It got better and better from me, so I’m very happy with my performance today.”
Ferro next takes on Italian wildcard and former world number five Sara Errani, who came from behind to beat the Czech Republic’s Kristyna Pliskova 3-6 6-4 6-3 for her 180th career win on clay – more than any active player on the tour.
Aliaksandra Sasnovich also moved into the last eight with a 6-0 6-2 win over home favourite Jasmine Paolini.
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