Australian maverick Nick Kyrgios withdrew from the French Open on Friday, according to tournament officials, robbing the Grand Slam event of some guaranteed fireworks.
No official reason was given although media reports stated the 24-year-old Kyrgios was suffering with an illness.
He had been due to face Britain’s Cameron Norrie in the first round but his place will now be taken by a qualifier who will almost certainly bring less to the party, good or bad, than the so-called wild child of men’s tennis.
The world number 36 divides opinion like no other in the sport, with his dazzling shot-making ability more often than not overshadowed by his behaviour and disdain for authority.
In the past he has been sanctioned for making inappropriate remarks about an opponent’s girlfriend, failing to try during matches and turning the air blue with bad language.
Only last week Kyrgios threw a chair across a court at the Italian Open before forfeiting his second-round match against Norwegian Casper Ruud.
He then headed to London to train with Britain’s Andy Murray on Wimbledon’s grass, where he declared his contempt for the French Open in a live Instagram post.
“The fact I am here now and then have to go to Paris in a couple of days… French Open sucks compared to this place. Sucks,” Kyrgios said.
“Get rid of the clay man, who likes the clay? It is so bad.”
Kyrgios also pulled out of the French Open last year before the start with an elbow injury and has never progressed past the third round at the claycourt Grand Slam.
Roland Garros officials told Reuters they did not know the reason for Kyrgios’s withdrawal.