WASHINGTON, D.C. — Taking on Tennys Sandgren in the second round of the Citi Open on Wednesday night, Nick Kyrgios retired while down 6-3, 3-0. Boos from the crowd rained down as he left the court. It wasn’t the first time the 22-year-old had been booed—not even close.

Maybe it wouldn’t have been so bad if it wasn’t Kyrgios’ third straight unfinished match. Due to chronic hip problems, he retired after slipping and losing the first set to Donald Young at Queen’s Club. Then at Wimbledon, he called it quits after dropping the first two sets to Pierre-Hugues Herbert.

Is this a case of burnout, lack of passion or just bad luck with health? Kyrgios’ compatriot, Bernard Tomic, has made headlines in recent weeks for admitting he has lost his love for the sport. Kyrgios has been honest about his greater love for basketball, but you don’t get to No. 20 in the world without a lot of dedication.

Regardless of all the speculation, this week it was right shoulder pain that forced the Australian to pull the plug. During the match, he was caught on camera telling his mother he didn’t want to play, and told the on-court trainer “I’m done” before ending the match.


“My shoulder kind of just came on today,” Kyrgios said right after the match. “I hadn’t been feeling it. And my hip has been fine. I’ve been very cautious with it. I haven’t been training enough, at all, to play a tournament like this. I just wanted to see how it goes, but obviously I’m far from ready.

“…Obviously with the U.S. swing coming up, I don’t think it’s really worth playing through here and jeopardizing my U.S. Open.”

The boos were somewhat justified as fans waited all night for the last match on the stadium court, and were certainly hoping for a blockbuster third round between Kyrgios and Alexander Zverev.


“Right now, Nick is sleeping in the locker room,” Zverev said after his third-set tiebreak win over Jordan Thompson. “…I think he will be motivated, and I think he wants to play me again.”

Zverev was hoping for a rematch, having lost to Kyrgios in Miami and Indian Wells. Instead, it’ll be Sandgren in that coveted position on Thursday.

This week has already been a career breakthrough for the American. In his fifth-ever ATP event, he scored his first win at this level over Go Soeda after getting into the main draw at the last minute with a ranking of No. 106.


The 26-year-old has been toiling on the ITF and ATP Challenger circuits since leaving the University of Tennessee early to turn pro in 2011. Now he finds himself in the third round of an ATP 500.

While Sandgren is making the most of his opportunity, the bright side for Kyrgios fans is he seems to still have his hopes set on a US Open appearance.

Citi Open crowd boos Kyrgios off court after third straight retirement

Citi Open crowd boos Kyrgios off court after third straight retirement


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