Why did Nick Kyrgios withdraw from Winston-Salem Open tennis match with Andy Murray - will he play US Open?

Former number one tennis champion Andy Murray instead faced off against American lucky loser Noah Rubin

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Tennis player Nick Kyrgios withdrew from his match against Andy Murray at the Winston-Salem Open, leaving the Scottish player to face off against American lucky loser Noah Rubin.

This is what you need to know.

Why did Nick Kyrgios withdraw from the match?

The Australian tennis player said that he withdrew from the match due to an injury in his left knee.

He said: “I was in Florida, in Bradenton rehabbing and training and came here obviously excited to play here. I love the facility, it’s really great.

“To play Andy Murray, one of my good friends and a tennis icon would have been amazing, but obviously I have to look after my body.

“I just didn’t feel as if the risk was worth [playing] today. I’ve got to be more cautious with it, keep rehabbing, keep training.

“Obviously I had to look after my body and with a Gram Slam next week, I wanted to be more cautious. I have been dealing with knee pain the last couple of weeks.

“With the US Open just around the corner, I just didn’t feel this was worth the risk of going out there and possibly making it worse.”

The two were set to play for the seventh time together in their ATP Head2Head series, with Murray in the lead 5-1. It would also have been their first match since Kyrgios won The Queen’s Club in 2018.

Kyrgios added: “I feel when I play it’s a bit of a rarity these days and to have someone like Andy going through what he’s gone through and to be back on tour as well, I think this match was very hyped up.

“I just need a bit more time. As a professional athlete playing on tour for this long, I want to look after my body, I want to do it right.”

Kyrgios intends to play the US Open, after recently having been defeated in Toronto by Reilly Opelka.

What did Andy Murray say?

Murray described the situation as “very, very odd”, with Kyrgios and three other lucky losers pulling out of the match.

Pierre-Hugues Herbert, Max Purcell and Yosuke Watanuki all opted not to take up the offer to play against Murray, with the ATP rulebook stating that any lucky loser would only be given prize money from the final qualifying round, should they lose in the first-round proper.

Murray said: “It was a very, very odd situation an hour before going on. The conditions here are brutal and a lot of those guys played matches during the day. If I was in that situation I would have probably wanted to play but I don’t know the situation of the other guys.”

In a post-match interview, he said: “Originally I was playing Nick [Kyrgios] and he had an injury to his knee so wasn’t going to play. I didn’t know if I was going to play tonight.

“They said if I was playing against a qualifier then I wouldn’t play and then I drew a lucky loser, so then I was playing Noah [Rubin]. It was tricky.

“It was obviously difficult for 45 minutes and then the first couple of games because you’ve gone over a strategy with your coach about the match you’re going to play and then obviously that changes.

“Twenty minutes before you go on court you’re playing someone you haven’t played against.”

Murray triumphed against American lucky loser Noah Rubin 6-2 6-0, and progressed to the next round of the Winston-Salem Open.

The Scottish tennis champ will face off against Frances Tiafoe next.

Who has dropped out of the US Open?

Rafael Nadal, four time US Open champion, announced on Friday 20 August that he would be missing out on the rest of the 2021 season, which includes the US Open, due to a recurring injury to his foot.

He posted a video on social media explaining that he has been dealing with the issue over the course of 15 years.

He said: “It’s the same injury I’ve been having since 2005. In that moment, the doctors were very negative about my future career, but honestly, I’ve been able to have a career that I never dreamed about so I am confident I will recover again, and if the foot is better, I am confident that my tennis and my mentality will be there again.

“The only thing you can be sure is that I am going to fight every single day to make that happen. [There] remains a couple of beautiful years, I really think. I will be back, and I will be back the right way.”

Fellow tennis giant, Roger Federer, also announced that he would be missing out on the 2021 US Open due to knee surgery.

He said that he would be out of action for “many months”, and the surgery he is undergoing will be the third procedure on his right knee in the last 18 months.

Federer said: “I’ll be on crutches for many weeks and also out of the game for many months, so it’s going to be difficult of course in some ways.

“But at the same time, I know it’s the right thing to do because I want to be healthy, I want to be running around later as well again and I want to give myself a glimmer of hope to return to the tour in some shape or form.

“I am realistic, don’t get me wrong. I know how difficult it is at this age right now to do another surgery and try it. But I want to be healthy.

“I will go through the rehab process with a goal while I’m still active, which I think is going to help me during this long period of time.”

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