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Nick Kyrgios is the defending champion at the Brisbane International.

Spider Bite Tests Kyrgios Ahead Of Brisbane Title Defense

No. 2 Aussie has spent little time on court in recent days due to bite

Nick Kyrgios will be hoping for a Peter Parker effect.

But in reality, a spider bite just before Christmas has hampered the Australian's preparation to defend the Brisbane International title he won for the first time last season. The four-time ATP Tour title winner had not practised in recent days before stepping on court for a very light 15-minute hit Saturday.

"I didn't take [the bite] seriously enough," Kyrgios said at his pre-tournament press conference. "I felt some irritation on my foot a day before Christmas and then I woke up on Christmas Day and my foot was really swollen.

"I've been in the hospital the past couple of days on a drip, getting antibiotics. I think I'll be okay but it’s definitely impacted my preparation and it’s still pretty irritated. I haven't been able to step on court or do anything really the last couple of days. But it's getting better, definitely progressing."

Kyrgios, No. 35 in the ATP Rankings, grabbed the eighth and final seed and was drawn to meet Ryan Harrison, the American he beat in last year's final. Kyrgios had already treated himself to a light pre-season before missing recent days due to the bite and admits that he may take time to find top gear in his season opener.

"I spent a lot of time in the gym and played a lot of basketball. The off-season for me is not about getting on court and trying to improve. I want to completely step away from the game and enjoy my time at home. I play enough tennis during the year. The last thing I want to do is go out and hit more balls. I'll probably be rusty, to be honest.

“[But] I'm really looking forward to being in Australia the next month. I have very good memories in Brisbane. I feel comfortable here."

Kyrgios is now the No. 2-ranked Australian behind 19-year-old Alex de Minaur and one of six Australians in the Top 100. The 23-year-old said that he is pleased with the collective success of his countrymen.

"It's always great to see the other Aussies do well. I'm not the jealous or envious type. I'm happy they are having success. I look at Alex, who was orange boy for us at Davis Cup and to see him play so well on the big stage is great. I know he's very excited for the Aussie summer and I'm sure he'll do very, very well. It's also good to see a guy like John Millman finally break through. His win over Federer at the US Open was a special moment for all of us.”

Did You Know?
Kyrgios reached a career-high ATP Ranking of No. 13 in October 2016.

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