Home favorite Nick Kyrgios withdrew from the Australian Open due to a knee injury the day before his opening match.
The 27-year-old Wimbledon runner-up said he was “devastated” he couldn’t play in Melbourne.
Kyrgios, seeded 19th, was due to face Russian Roman Safiullin on Tuesday.
“It was obviously quite brutal before [one] the most important tournaments of my career,” Kyrgios said. “It hasn’t been easy at all.
Considered among the favorites to win the title, Kyrgios “did not come out very well” from an exhibition with Novak Djokovic on Friday, according to his physio Will Maher.
Maher said they used the charity event as “a gauge” to see if the player could compete at the highest level.
But afterwards, he informed the Australian that he could potentially not play a succession of five-set matches over the fortnight.
“He still tried to give himself every chance in the following days for further training,” added Maher.
“But it was clear with each session that he was getting more and more painful.”
Kyrgios, who will not be able to defend the men’s doubles title here, will need surgery for a cyst growing in his meniscus, but expects to be fully recovered to play Indian Wells in March.
“I’m obviously devastated. It’s like my home tournament. I have great memories here,” Kyrgios said.
“Obviously last year I won the doubles title and probably played the best tennis of my life. Then to come into this event as one of the favorites is brutal .”