Nick Kyrgios admitted to feeling "devastated" and "mentally distraught" after suffering a shock loss to Karen Khachanov at the US Open.
The 27-year-old had been expected to keep up his remarkable summer form with a relatively open draw at Flushing Meadows given Rafael Nadal and world No. 1 Daniil Medvedev had already bowed out of the tournament.
But it was not to be for the Australian as he endured an unexpected 7-5 4-6 7-5 6-7(3) 6-4 defeat to an inspired Khachanov in the night session inside Arthur Ashe Stadium.
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Kyrgios, who smashed two racquets after the match point, was left to reflect on a hugely disappointing result, and spoke typically openly about how only Grand Slams really matter to him now after coming so close to winning one at Wimbledon, and threatening another good run in New York.
"Yeah, I just came out flat," he said in his post-match press conference. "Physically, I didn't feel great. Then I ended up feeling great towards the end of the match.
"I'm obviously devastated, but all credit to Karen. He's a fighter. He's a warrior. I thought he served really good today. Honestly, probably the best server I played in this tournament, to be honest, the way he was hitting his spots under pressure.
"He just played the big points well, really wasn't anything in it. I'm just devastated, obviously. I just feel like it was either winning it all or nothing at all, to be honest. I feel like I've just failed at this event right now. That's what it feels like.
"Honestly, I don't even really care about any other tournament. I feel like at the Grand Slams, now having success at a Grand Slam, it's just like no other tournament really matters.
"It's like you get better, you get worse, then at a Grand Slam none of it matters. You either win or lose. People don't really care if you got better on the day or you lost in the fifth or played one of the best matches of the tournament. You lost, so...
"I honestly feel like s***. I feel like I've let so many people down. I just don't know. I feel like I'm playing Tokyo and stuff. But I feel like these four [major] tournaments are the only ones that are ever going to matter. It's just like you have got to start it all again. I have to wait till the Australian Open.
"It's just devastating. Like, it's heartbreaking. Not just for me, but for everyone that I know that wants me to win. That's all people remember at a Grand Slam, whether you win or you lose. I think pretty much every other tournament during the year is a waste of time, really. You should just run up and show up at a Grand Slam. That's what you're remembered by."
Asked about the significance of his injury concerns after saying he could not move when receiving treatment from a physio during the match, Kyrgios played it down.
"Yeah, just a sore knee," he said. "Obviously, I've been playing a lot of tennis the last couple of months.
"I just split-stepped and just tweaked it a little bit, but ended up feeling fine. I got some Deep Heat on it. Everyone is carrying a bit of a niggle right now. Nothing major.
"I mean, I didn't end up feeling it towards the third, fourth and fifth [sets]. I felt great physically. At the end of the match, honestly, I felt fine. Just mentally distraught."
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