Nick Kyrgios left the US Open, eliminated by a Russian. If we had been told that on the evening of the draw, we would all have thought of a defeat in the round of 16 against Daniil Medvedev. But it’s a round further than the Aussie took the wall. Convincing winner of world number one and defending champion on Sunday, he almost seemed to have done the hardest part. The man to beat, at the top of the table, was him now. And maybe even a little more than that after the exit of Rafael Nadal on Monday. But it is indeed Karen Khachanov, the surprise guest of this 2022 edition, who has consigned the legitimate ambitions of the finalist of the last Wimbledon to oblivion.
On this match, there is nothing to say. Kyrgios, despite sometimes abysmal body language, hung on like hell on the Arthur-Ashe court. But he lacked consistency and perhaps even more lucidity in the key moments of the match. Result, after having picked up a set everywhere then embarked his opponent in a 5th set, he ended up giving in (7-5, 4-6, 7-5, 6-7, 6-4) after 3h39 of combat.
Khachanov brings Kyrgios back to earth
11 HOURS AGO
Credit: Getty Images
“Of course I’m devastatedhe admitted. But kudos to Karen. He’s a fighter. A warrior. He served really well today. He’s the best server I’ve played in this tournament, especially when he was under pressure. On the important points, he played very well. He wasn’t kidding.Sleek in defeat, Kyrgios was a far cry from the ‘Absolute Pelican’ as he dubbed the Muscovite in a searing social media exchange during the pandemic.
If he had trouble saying it, it was towards himself. In the middle of a self-flagellation session, the native of Canberra draws up an acknowledgment of failure. “For me it’s the title or nothing, to be honesthe said during his press conference. In this tournament, I failed. This is how I feel. In Grand Slam, you have to win, people don’t care about the rest“It’s probably excessive. A quarter-final is far from being a total failure, especially for someone who, until two months ago, had not reached this level in a Grand Slam for more than seven years. But he had said it, he wanted “go to the end” At New York.
Because his Wimbledon final had whetted his appetite, he was confident he could hit the jackpot at Flushing Meadows and his victory over Medvedev only reinforced that feeling. Hence his disappointment, probably even greater than if he had been taken out by the most prestigious of the two Russians. “Yes it hurtshe insisted. I feel like shit. I feel like I let so many people down. It breaks my heart. Not just for me, but for everyone I know wants to see me win..”
A service winner to finish: Khachanov bent Kyrgios on his first match point
Any other tournament outside of the Grand Slam is a waste of time
In any case, he did not take refuge behind his sore knee which could have given rise to fears for the worst at the start of the match. He got manipulated, seemed to walk between the dots with difficulty, and even threw his clan a “I can’t even walk“. In reality, there was nothing serious: “It’s just a pain. I have played a lot in the last two months. I felt it spin a bit at the start of the game. We warmed it up and after that it was fine. Nothing serious. We all hurt somewhere. In the last three sets, I felt nothing. Honestly it was okay, it was just mentally upsetting.”
It was not in the knee that Nick Kyrgios had pain coming out of the court, but in the belly, in the guts, in the heart and in the head. This defeat, he could take some time to digest. It could also take some time to play tennis again. He was eager to return home after the series of tournaments on grass in Europe and on hard in North America. He missed country and family. Until the resumption of the next season in January with the culmination of the Australian Open, will he return to the courts? Not sure, even if he mentioned the Tokyo tournament in October.
What Nick Kyrgios dreams of is a big title. Not a Masters 1000. A Grand Slam. His motivation will find it difficult to transport himself to less prestigious appointments, to listen to him: “Honestly, I don’t care about other tournaments. Any other tournament outside of the Grand Slam is a waste of time. The four Grand Slam tournaments are still the only ones that will matter. When you lose, you have to start over. Now I’ll have to wait until the Australian Open.”
Kyrgios facing the “pelican” Khachanov, quarter-final under high tension?
YESTERDAY AT 07:12
Tuesday’s program: the night session for Garcia, Berrettini and Jabeur during the day
YESTERDAY AT 6:02 PM