A first-time seeding must compensate for a lack of match practice as Nick Kyrgios heads to Wimbledon after a scratchy preparation involving just one competitive grasscourt outing.
Kyrgios’s withdrawal from the Nottingham Open follows his no show in Stuttgart because of an elbow injury and a first-round loss to newly-crowned French Open champion Stan Wawrinka at Queen’s last week.
The two-time grand slam quarter-finalist said he needed to “chill out” and forget about tennis for a few days after falling to Wawrinka in a flat performance he attributed to fatigue and feeling unwell since Roland Garros.
In pulling the pin on Nottingham, Kyrgios tweeted that he was still sick and had been unable to practice since his 47-minute loss to Wawrinka.
Kyrgios’s Wimbledon build-up has been in stark contrast to last year when he won a Challenger tournament in Nottingham before making a spectacular run to the last eight at the All England Club.
But the precocious talent proved with another grand slam quarter-final charge at the Australian Open – in only his second ATP tournament in four months – that he’s capable of delivering on the big stage even after playing only sparingly.
“I still feel confident. I know that I could do some good things there and I know that I don’t necessarily need too many matches before grand slams,” the world No.28 said at Queen’s.
“Australian Open as well, I had one match going in there.”
Kyrgios and Australian No.1 Bernard Tomic, who is also taking the week off after contesting back-to-back events in Stuttgart and Halle, are hoping their impressive records at SW19 lead to a seeding boost on Wednesday.
Unlike the other three grand slam tournaments, seedings are based on Wimbledon’s unique “grasscourt formula” where the All England Club factors in past performances on the surface and doesn’t strictly follow the world rankings.
Tomic, ranked 24th, is assured of an all-important top-24 seeding, meaning he won’t run into a top-eight rival until at least the fourth round.
Kyrgios, who may be offered a match at The Boodles exhibition event in London during the week, will receive similar protection until at least the third round, and possibly the fourth.
Tomic, a quarter-finalist in 2011 who made the round of 16 last year, Kyrgios and women’s seed Samantha Stosur lead an impressive Australian challenge featuring at least 13 players in the singles draws in 2015.
While Kyrgios, Sam Groth, Thanasi Kokkinakis and James Duckworth have all gained direct entry for the first time, former champion Lleyton Hewitt and in-form Matt Ebden were both awarded wildcards.
Marinko Matosevic earned a late reprieve on Friday night, spared of the stress of trying to qualify when former US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro formally withdrew with a chronic wrist injury.
Stosur and Australia’s four other women’s hopefuls – Casey Dellacqua, Jarmila Gajdosova, Daria Gavrilova and Ajla Tomljanovic – are all tuning their grasscourt games at Eastbourne this week.