"My shoulder started to hurt in the practice which didn't help either and once I lost the first set I was just not strong enough to continue because I've not eaten much in the past 24 hours".
Returning to the scene of his infamous tanking past year that led to a ban from the world tour, Kyrgios was involved in yet another sensation at the Shanghai Masters.
Also, big-serving American John Isner beat Serbian qualifier Dusan Lajovic 4-6, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (6) on a day with temperatures soaring past 32 degrees Celsius. He was picked up on TV telling his courtside entourage he would stop if he lost the set, which he did.
With the threat of another ban looming large, Kyrgios has got onto the front foot to explain his latest retirement - citing a stomach bug - in a statement posted on Twitter.
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The walk-off left the on-air commentators dumbfounded.
Earlier, Kyrgios had angrily blasted a ball out of the court after a video replay decision proved him correct.
Nadal was well in control by then and he raced into a 5-0 lead in the second set before Kyrgios slightly delayed the inevitable as the Spaniard sauntered to his 12th consecutive win.
"Tennis is a great life - we're well paid and the perks are pretty good - but it can feel empty if you're just doing it for the money", he said.
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He had that written down and figured out so he would know where to shoot to hit his targets from there. The sheriff also said investigators do not believe that a single event pushed him to do what he did.
Kyrgios arrived in Shanghai on the back of a run to the China Open final on Sunday, which he lost heavily to Rafael Nadal.
The 22-year-old, who had made the claim after becoming frustrated with the crowd inside the arena, subsequently quit the match after Johnson served an ace to clinch the opener 7-6.
But he will now nearly certainly come under serious scrutiny from officials for quitting a match at the very same venue where he was accused of not giving his best efforts 12 months ago.
This isn't the first instance of Kyrgios tanking or forfeiting a match.
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His rare, possibly even unprecedented, walk-off on Tuesday night prompted swift backlash on social media.