Nick Kyrgios was ‘quite disabled’ and close to retiring after injury | Tennis | Sport

Nick Kyrgios was described as “quite disabled” by his surgeon when they first met. The doctor and his Aussie patient have laid bare the brutal details of his road to recovery from a major wrist injury.

Kyrgios will attend Wimbledon this year, but only as a commentator for the BBC, as he continues to build up his fitness ahead of a long-awaited comeback to tennis.

The 29-year-old had surgery on his left knee in January 2023, but further issues with his wrist left the 2022 SW19 finalist unable to open a car door without being in serious pain.

He underwent a ‘secret’ surgery in the basement of the Calvary Adelaide Hospital after coming to terms with the likelihood that he would have to give up on his dream of playing tennis professionally, which was seriously considered last year. But tireless work behind the scenes has ensured that Kyrgios can look forward to making his mark in the sport again.

“He was quite disabled when I first saw him,” Dr Michael Sandow told The Canberra Times. “Now he’s playing tennis again. If you talk to anyone in the wrist specialist world they would be quite amazed. You just don’t get these results.

“If he was playing football you could tape it up, but in tennis he’s putting huge amounts of load through the wrist, and you’re looking at a 12-month return date – he’s hitting balls at nine months. There’s no reason he won’t have a pretty normal wrist for the rest of his life.

“When I first talked to Nick, he was very depressed and looking at never playing tennis again. He had very nasty wrist instability with a tear that can create significant wrist bone collapse and leads inevitably to arthritis.”

Ten months on from a successful wrist surgery, Kyrgios looked back at a difficult time in his life mentally, coming to terms with his career stalling and the immense amount of pain that left him unable to open up jars at home.

“This has been a really challenging time – the hardest of my career,” Kyrgios said. “People aren’t expecting me to come back, especially after an injury like this, so I would love to do that and play again.”

Kyrgios no longer feels any pain in his wrist, a small miracle after being told last year that he had suffered a full rupture of the scapholunate ligament.

But an innovative anatomical front and back reconstruction of the wrist allowed Dr Sandow to first scan Kyrgios’ wrist through animation, locating the injury, before drilling holes in the trapezium, scaphoid, lunate and radius with a material to keep the bones in place.

Kyrgios is back on the court and although much more work needs to be done before a professional comeback can take place, the Aussie is determined to ensure that his story in tennis hasn’t already been written.

“The process has honestly been brutal,” Kyrgios said. “The surgery was almost 10 months ago and it’s not a very common injury, so we are experimenting how much we can push it. No one has really come back from an injury like this before. To now, being back on court, it’s pretty surreal.

“Just getting out there and playing at a decent level again would be a bonus.”

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