Nick Kyrgios’ French Open campaign could be over before it starts after he decided against playing in the singles at a lead-up event in Lyon.
Kyrgios has not played since April 14 due to a troublesome elbow injury and is now in major doubt for the Roland Garros grand slam.
And while he will play some tennis in Lyon, entering the doubles with American Jack Sock, it may only serve as a reminder that he is not fully fit.
The 23-year-old will hope to get some confidence back in his elbow during the doubles and will no doubt be frustrated by the persistent problem.
Kyrgios returned to Australia in April to receive a cortisone shot and has been training hard in a bid to return to the tour.
But the fact he did not have enough confidence in his elbow to enter the singles draw means that even if he does decide to play in the French Open, he would be severely underdone in terms of match fitness.
Kyrgios and Sock, seeded seventh at Lyon, are scheduled to meet fellow seeds Federico Delbonis and Portugal’s Joao Sousa on Tuesday.
The Canberran was training with Novak Djokovic as recently as last week, documenting a Rome training session on Instagram.
Kyrgios lost in the second round in Paris last year but reached the third round in both 2015 and 2016.
And while it is far from his favourite surface, Kyrgios, before injury, was enjoying one of the best years of his career.
He won the Brisbane International in January, his first tile in Australia, and then reached the round of 16 at the Australian Open.
If he plays, Kyrgios will be joined in the first round by at least four other Australians.
John Millman, who beat Bernard Tomic in the final of a challenger event in Aix-en-Provence last week, Matthew Ebden, Jordan Thompson and wildcard Alex de Minaur are all guaranteed to play at Roland Garros.
Tomic, Kokkinakis to do it the hard way
Another six Aussies will try and qualify for the men’s singles, with Bernard Tomic and Thanasi Kokkinakis headlining the list.
Tomic will begin qualifying on Tuesday against Barbados’ Darian King and enters the match on the back of a good week.
“I played maybe my best clay-court tournament so, for me, it was really solid,” he said after losing to Millman.
Kokkinakis, on the recovery trail from a knee injury, takes on local Jaimee Floyd Angele in his first qualifying match.
Also trying to qualify are Alex Bolt, Jason Kubler, Marc Polmans and Akira Santallan.
Strasbourg on the menu for Aussie women
Clay-court specialist Samantha Stosur is one of three Aussies to prepare for the French Open in Strasbourg and the veteran has every reason to believe she can make a Roland Garros run.
Stosur has reached the last four of the event on four occasions and lost the 2010 final to Italian Francesca Schiavone.
Ashleigh Barty and Daria Gavrilova will be seeded for the grand slam and will also play at the event.
Kyrgios’ girlfriend, Ajla Tomljanovic, and Isabelle Wallace will feature in the women’s singles at the French Open as well, while Olivia Rogowska, Lizette Cabrera, Priscilla Hon and Arina Rodionova will attempt to mine their way through qualifying this week.