Nick Kyrgios admits he has “no idea” how to parlay his undeniable potential in major silverware after another disappointing grand slam season ended with a whimper in New York.
A day after suffering a straight-sets third-round singles loss to Andrey Rublev, Kyrgios pulled out of the US Open doubles.
Kyrgios and Marius Copil were scheduled to play Jurgen Melzer and Oliver Marach in the second round on Sunday, but the Australian No.1 withdrew citing an elbow injury.
The sport’s most controversial figure will now await the outcome of two separate ATP investigations into his conduct in Cincinnati and New York over the past three weeks.
He faces potential bans of up to 12 months for the two “major offences” – calling Irish umpire Fergus Murphy a “potato” and “f–––ing tool” and spitting in his direction in Cincinnati and subsequently accusing the ATP of being “pretty corrupt” after they slapped him with a $US113,000 ($167,700) fine.
Falling short of welcoming any potential suspension, Kyrgios – before departing Flushing Meadows – gave the feeling he wouldn’t be devastated either, if ordered to take an enforced holiday to avoid the Asian swing.
Of more concern should be his inability to deliver on the big stage.
Kyrgios will arrive at the Australian Open in January having gone five years without reaching a grand slam quarter-final.
He twice made the last eight at majors as a teenager – Wimbledon in 2014 and in Melbourne in 2015.
Since then, though, he has only under-achieved.
After going 20-from-20 against lower-ranked or unseeded opponents at the majors, extraordinary numbers that not even grand slam giants Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic could boast at the start of their careers, Kyrgios has become increasingly unreliable.
The 24-year-old one-time world No.13 has been eliminated by lower-ranked players at seven of the past 11 majors and possesses a modest 6-11 record against rivals he should, on paper, beat.
The mercurial star’s dip has also coincided with his troubles with officialdom and has left Kyrgios with no answers.
Asked what needed to focus on to maximise his tennis potential, Kyrgios said: “I don’t know. You guys are the experts. You tell me. No idea.”
Barring any ban, Kyrgios will next be seen leading Team World against Team Europe at the third edition of the Laver Cup in Geneva from September 20-22.