In the normal world, tennis fans would’ve been preparing for the start of the 2020 French Open this week.
Australia’s Nick Kyrgios, John Millman and Alexei Popyrin have suffered disappointing first-round exits in the opening round of the Mercedes Cup grass event in Stuttgart.
There were no histrionics from Kyrgios, but he went down to the 30th-ranked Italian Matteo Berrettini 6-3 6-4 in just 53 minutes in his first hit out on grass this year.
It was Kyrgios’s first outing since defaulting from the Italian Open last month after he hurled a chair on to the court following two previous code violations.
While having little experience on grass, Berrettini lived up to his recent strong form which included winning the Hungarian Open and finishing runner-up at the Munich Open on clay.
Kyrgios is now likely to be up against it to secure a top-32 seeding for Wimbledon next month, the Canberran now slated to drop to No.38 in the world.
He had been a semi-finalist at the event last year.
Kyrgios’s loss marked a poor day for the Australians at the tournament.
Popyrin had his chances against world No.18 and 2016 Wimbledon finalist Milos Raonic, leading by a break in the final set in their first round clash.
But it wasn’t to be for the former French Open junior champion, who went down 6-7 (8-6) 6-4 7-6 (7-4).
Millman struggled with unpredictable qualifier Dustin Brown, giving up a 5-2 lead in the second set.
The towering German, known best for having two wins on grass against Rafael Nadal, triumphed 6-4 7-6 (7-3).