Nick Kyrgios in action during his first round match against Ryan Harrison.
Nick Kyrgios in action during his first round match against Ryan Harrison.

Once bitten! Kyrgios opens Brisbane title defence with tough win

A SPIDER  bite on his foot may have ensured Nick Kyrgios got too big for his boots but the Australian No.2 wasn't getting ahead of himself after launching his Brisbane International defence.

Eighth seed Kyrgios revealed he couldn't fit his swollen left foot into his shoe just days ago and contemplated pulling out of the Brisbane event after outlasting American Ryan Harrison in the first round.

World No.35 Kyrgios pulled off 44 aces to outlast Harrison 7-6 (7-5) 5-7 7-6 (7-5) on Tuesday in a re-match of the 2018 Brisbane final.

However, Kyrgios revealed he was flat out pulling on his shoe not so long ago due to the pesky spider.

Kyrgios spent a few days nursing his foot in hospital in his hometown Canberra over Christmas after the spider struck, throwing his Brisbane International preparation into disarray.

"It's not completely healed on my left foot, but it's definitely getting a lot better," he said.

"It was really, really bad four or five days ago. I was questioning whether I was going to be ready to play.

"It was to the point where I couldn't fit into my shoe, so it was pretty bad."

Nick Kyrgio plays a shot through his legs.
Nick Kyrgio plays a shot through his legs.

Kyrgios claimed he would be rusty in the opener against world No.62 Harrison due to the disrupted lead-up.

And Kyrgios was true to his word as he was kept honest by the hard-hitting Harrison before booking a second round clash with France's Jeremy Chardy.

Kyrgios wasn't making any bold predictions despite making a perfect start to his title defence.

"I was pretty poor. Everything I did was pretty poor, except for my serve today, so I know that that needs to get better," he said.

"But that will come with more matches.

"Just considering how much I hit during the off season and to still get through is pretty impressive - I'm pretty happy just getting through that."

Kyrgios, 23, endured a frustrating 2018 in which his ranking slipped from world No.21, cutting his season short in October with a recurring elbow complaint.

Meanwhile, three-time grand slam champion Andy Murray showed no sign of rust in his return from an injury-hit 2018.

He downed Australian wildcard James Duckworth 6-3 6-4 in less than 90 minutes in the first round.

Dual champion Murray extended his Brisbane record to 10-0, booking a second round clash with fourth-seeded Russian Daniil Medvedev.

News Corp Australia

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