Nick Kyrgios says he no longer wants to play tennis as doubts grow about the one-time Wimbledon finalist’s ability to return from serious knee and wrist injuries.
Kyrgios maintains he will make a comeback and retire on his terms despite playing only one match in 14 months and falling off the world rankings list.
But the 28-year-old also admits he is “exhausted” from the tour grind and, in an ideal world, his career would be over.
“If it was up to me, I don’t really want to play anymore to be honest,” Kyrgios told the On Purpose with Jay Shetty podcast.
“I have to almost (keep playing). I’ve got so much more to give but, for me, I don’t feel like playing anymore.
“I’m exhausted, I’m tired. I have had three surgeries now that … I’m only 28 years old, I always wanted to have a family and not be in pain. When I get up, I can’t walk without pain.
“It’s a tough gig.”
Kyrgios also told the British podcaster that if he had his time over again, he would never have first picked up a racquet.
The mercurial talent last week made the “heartbreaking” but almost inevitable decision to formally withdraw from next month’s Australian Open having lost to China’s world No.64 Yibling Wu in straight sets in his only competitive match in 2023, in Stuttgart in June.
The former world No.13 will instead dabble in commentary at Melbourne Park, but insists he will return, however reluctantly, to the court in 2024 with a protected ranking of No.21.
“I only want to play for about another one to two years and be at the top and go down my own terms,” Kyrgios said.
“I would hate to have another surgery or anything like that. So I think I’ve still got the ability to have a good one to two years and then that’s it.
“I think I’ll be at peace with everything I’ve achieved. I’m going to have to just say to everyone out there who wants me to play more, ‘You’re just going to have to be OK with me not playing anymore’.”
After undergoing knee surgery in January, Kyrgios went under the knife again in October after tearing ligaments in his right, serving wrist.
Former US Open finalist Juan Martin del Potro initially made a successful comeback from a similar injury but hasn’t played since February last year.
Australian tennis great John Newcombe isn’t completely giving up on Kyrgios returning but acknowledged the tough road ahead for the Canberran.
“I don’t know much about the injury but it seems to be hanging around there and it’s going to be hard to come back from that because he’s getting older every year and he’s been out for quite a while now,” Newcombe told AAP.
“So it’s hard to break back in but, if he does get the wrist right, he’s got a big game and he can win a lot of easy points.”