Melbourne: Nick Kyrgios's hopes of ending his country's 47-year wait for a homegrown men's champion at the Australian Open were shattered on the opening day when he pulled out of the tournament with a knee injury on Monday.
The 27-year-old was, in his opinion at least, going into the tournament as one of the favourites after reaching the Wimbledon final and the quarter-finals of the U.S. Open last year.
"Obviously, I'm extremely disappointed, this is one of the most important tournaments of my career, it hasn't been easy at all," Kyrgios told reporters at Melbourne Park.
"This coming around is just bad timing but that's life you know. Injuries are part of the sport.
"I'm devastated ... Going into one of these events as the favourite is brutal." Trainer Will Maher said Kyrgios had been troubled by a small tear in the meniscus of the knee for a couple of weeks and that withdrawing from the tournament was the sensible decision.
Kyrgios said he had given himself every chance of competing but that a hit with doubles partner Thanasi Kokkinakis on Monday morning convinced him he had to pull out.
The withdrawal also means Kyrgios and Kokkinakis - dubbed the 'Special Ks' - will not be able to defend the men's doubles title they won at Melbourne Park last year.
Maher said he thought Kyrgios would be over the injury in time to play at the Masters tournament at Indian Wells in California in early March.
"I'm not doubting that I'll be back to my full strength and will be back," Kyrgios added.