Kyrgios: Hip surgery is very scary
Andy Murray's confidant Nick Kyrgios offered a public vote of support for his friend today in Brisbane, wishing Murray the best of luck as he attempts to overcome an intractable hip problem.
Yet while Kyrgios did his best to sound positive about the situation, he also admitted that the prospect of hip surgery - something he might have to face at some stage - is "very scary" and "the absolute last resort".
Murray has already pulled out of the Brisbane International, where Kyrgios defeated fellow Australian Matt Ebden yesterday in three sets, and must now be considered the longest of long shots to appear in the Australian Open on Monday week.
A decision is expected at some point in the next couple of days on his next move, but after almost six months of fruitless rest and recuperation, it is difficult to see how he can avoid taking a gamble and opting for keyhole surgery.
"It's pretty sad," Kyrgios said. "I think he's definitely a fan favourite. He brings a lot of the people to all these tournaments. And he's a good friend of mine.
"It's just sad seeing a guy like that getting injured. Because you saw him at Wimbledon struggling and, obviously, (he has) been struggling ever since. It sucks, seeing him not being able to get it right. He's been rehabbing now for almost five months.
"I don't know what he's going to do. I'm not an expert. But hopefully he can get better."
Kyrgios suffered a hip injury of his own at Queen's last summer, slipping during his first-round match, and the area has remained a problem for him ever since.
He cited his problematic hip as his reason for ending his 2017 season early, after a bad loss at the Belgium Open in October.
"It's not comfortable," Kyrgios said, when asked about hip injuries in general. "And it definitely affects especially a guy like that who relies on his movement and athleticism so much.
"I think he (Murray) is one of the best athletes the game has ever seen. He's going to have to get his hip right to get to the top of the sport again, and hopefully he can do it.
"I've been given a hip programme that I have to do pretty much every day and that's all I kind of do in the gym. I don't think anyone ever really wants to get cut open. That's the absolute last resort. You don't really know the success rate of anything like that. So it's tough. It's very scary."
Meanwhile, Novak Djokovic will play two exhibition events in Melbourne in a bid to prove his fitness for the Australian Open.
The 12-time grand slam champion has not played since last year's Wimbledon championship due to an elbow injury. The 30-year-old has won six Australia Open titles, most recently in 2016.
Caroline Wozniacki swept aside Petra Martic in a 6-2, 6-2 victory yesterday to reach the quarter-finals of the Auckland Open and continue her impressive run of form.
The Dane ended the 2017 season with the biggest title of her career at the BNP Paribas WTA Finals and has carried that form with her into the New Year. Wozniacki needed only 53 minutes to see off the unseeded Martic, despite dropping her serve in the first game of the second set.
"I've worked on everything I need to work on in the off-season," Wozniacki said. "Now it's just a matter of working out how to incorporate that into your match or into a situation where you maybe get nervous."