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McEnroe takes aim as Kyrgios exits US Open

AAP logoAAP 4/09/2016 By Darren Walton

John McEnroe has challenged Nick Kyrgios to quit professional tennis if his heart isn't in it.

Commentating on American TV, McEnroe was scathing of Kyrgios's demeanour before Australia's last singles hope retired from his third-round US Open match against Illya Marchenko with a hip flexor injury on Saturday night.

Kyrgios was trailing two sets to one - 4-6 6-4 6-1 - when he called it quits.

The 14th seed complained of the injury during his first two matches and said he felt like he'd been "hit by a bus" at one point during the defeat.

"I can't move. I can't turn, mate," he said to his courtside trainer.

"What's the f***ing point?"

McEnroe has been critical and complimentary of Kyrgios in equal measure since the 21-year-old's emergence as one of tennis's hottest prospects.

Last year he lashed Kyrgios for his "bonehead" tactics during a first-round loss to Andy Murray at Flushing Meadows, while he also took aim at the world No.16 at Wimbledon.

But his latest attack was particularly harsh, given Kyrgios's obvious injury concerns.

"Nick Kyrgios, if you don't want to be a professional tennis player, do something else," McEnroe said.

"He's hurt because he's not training enough."

There was no sign of any trouble early as Kyrgios broke Marchenko on the Ukraine's first service game before comfortably securing the opening set.

At times he toyed with the world No.63, producing a series of nonchalant backhand-down-the-line winners to appear in cruise control.

Kyrgios lit up Arthur Ashe Stadium when he ran down a drop shot and conjured an incredible around-the-net-post backhand winner in the fifth game of the third set.

But the over exertion may well have inflamed his injury, with a clearly lame Kyrgios managing to win just six more games and dropping serve four times before stopping.

"It's not going to get better by playing, I guess," a dejected Kyrgios said later.

"It's tough. I don't like to retire. It's probably like the second or third time I've done it.

"It's never easy, of course. I've got a lot of belief in my game to still win matches when I'm not feeling great.

"(But) his strength is to make balls move you around. It's not great.

"I mean, to be fair, my hip was bothering me my first two matches and I got through. I guess it was just a matter of time."

Kyrgios's injury places him in doubt for Australia's Davis Cup playoff with Slovakia in Sydney from September 16-18.

"I don't really care right now, to be honest," he said.

"Hopefully I get better in time. Obviously I want to play but I'm not really thinking about that right now."

Despite McEnroe's critique, Kyrgios attributed the injury to training and playing overload.

"It's the whole year leading up to it with the whole schedule," he said.

"I've got to take more time and be more diligent with gym and everything so this doesn't happen to me."

The loss was Kyrgios's first in 21 matches against unseeded opponents at grand slam events but despite the setback he is set to climb to a career-high No.15 in the world.

Marchenko admitted it was not the way he wanted to reach the last 16 of a slam for the first time, five days shy of his 29th birthday.

But the Ukraine said it was "a dream come true" to earn a showdown with two-time grand slam champion and third seed Stan Wawrinka on Monday for a place in the quarter-finals.

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