Wimbledon crowd favourite Nick Kyrgios retired hurt in his third-round match against Felix Auger-Aliassime on Saturday, hailing his opponent as a "hell of a player". Kyrgios made headlines in the week with complaints over the condition of the grass courts at the All England Club, though the divisive Australian had looked sharp in wins over Ugo Humbert and Gianluca Mager.
He carried that form into his second career meeting with Canada's Auger-Aliassime, but as he charged to a 6-2 lead in the first set, Kyrgios sustained an apparent abdominal injury. The 26-year-old received treatment on court, yet was clearly in distress as he attempted to continue, with Auger-Aliassime capitalising to take the second set 6-1 in just 22 minutes.
It signalled the end of the road for Kyrgios, who handed the win to the world number 19. Despite his withdrawal, Kyrgios remained in good spirits.
Explaining his decision, Kyrgios said: "I haven't played this level of tennis in a long time, and obviously playing someone as good as Felix, my main weapon – my serve – to be firing on all cylinders and I just felt my abs, definitely did something in the first set.
"That's the way it goes. He's a hell of a player, he's going to do special things in this sport. Playing out here, having this support, has made me have a second wind. I reckon I'm going to come back and play for a bit longer.
"I did all I could to get here. I beat a heck of a player in the first round, played a great second round and just to get out here again, two sets, tried to play as long as I could, sorry I couldn't give you more today. But you'll see a lot of [Auger-Aliassime] in the future, and he's better looking too!"
For his part, Auger-Aliassime was equally as frustrated not to be able to see out what promised to be an entertaining match up.
"First of all, sorry for Nick, he was playing so good in the first set. It's really unfortunate in front of a packed crowd," he said. "I think there were big expectations for this match, we were hoping to put on a good show, entertain the crowd, so it's unfortunate he had to retire. I hope it’s nothing too serious and he’ll be back on the US swing."