Nick Kyrgios has opened up about his mental health battle, claiming his state of mind was at one point ’20 times’ worse than tennis champion Naomi Osaka’s.
The 26-year-old has only played five events since March 2020 when the Covid pandemic began, admitting he sees himself as a ‘part-time player’.
The tennis star revealed he has mixed feelings about his career in an illuminating interview about his mental health, saying the vile racism he endured forced him to be ‘resilient’.
‘I don’t miss it that much any more,’ Kyrgios told AFP of the demanding tennis circuit.
Nick Kyrgios (pictured with his girlfriend Chiara Passari), has only played five events since since March due to Covid-19 and has mixed feelings about his tennis career
‘I feel vibes, like every time I’m at a tournament it could be my last time I’m ever going to be here.’
The world number 77 said it has taken strength to withstand the pressure, while he reflected on the amount of hate and racism he has faced.
‘I’m just resilient,’ Kyrgios assured, saying he was nearly ‘crucified’ by some fans.
‘If someone is not as resilient as me mentally, the amount of hate I got, the amount of racism I got, the amount of bullsh*t that I got from the tour, from fans, from everything…’
At just 18, the controversial player became one of Australia’s most well known tennis stars, but revealed how the sport drove him close to a dark place while he was relentlessly pursued by disapproving fans and commentators.
Japanese tennis player Naomi Osaka (pictured) was met with praise after she pulled out of the French Open and Wimbledon competition citing mental illness, with Kyrgios wishing he received that kind of support early in his career
He described ‘falling into dark places’ and while Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka is now able to speak openly about her mental health struggles, Kyrgios revealed his struggle was worse.
‘I did fall into places where people like Naomi Osaka are now speaking about mental illness, where I was going through, in my personal opinion, 20 times as bad,’ the tennis star said.
‘I’m just saying this sport could have driven me into a place of dark, which it did for a bit, how mentally tough it was at 18.
‘Being one of the most well-known players in Australia, getting absolutely hammered with media. It’s not so easy.’
The 26-year-old (pictured) described his mental state as being ’20 times’ as bad as Osaka’s after facing racism and hateful messages
Witnessing the praise Osaka received when she pulled out of the French Open and Wimbledon titles due to mental health struggles, Kyrgios said he did not receive the same support.
‘All they receive is good press. They don’t really receive hateful messages,’ he said.
Believing his personality was ‘outcasted’ and ‘crucified’, he thinks deep down his persona is good for the sport as he’s served as an example and proved popular among fans.
‘Feel like I’ve been pretty iconic in the sport,’ he said.
‘In the sense of doing it my own way.’
Kyrgios pulled out of the Tokyo Olympics partly over a spectator ban.
Kyrgios returned to the ATP tour (pictured) to defend his 2019 Citi Open title where he lost his second match in Atlanta last week
After making third round exits at the Australian Open and Wimbledon he lost his second match in Atlanta last week.
Returning to the ATP tour to defend the Citi Open title he held in 2019, the tennis star was defeated by Brit Cameron Norrie during the second round in Atlanta.
‘I don’t take any tournament for granted. I try and soak in as much as I can,’ Kyrgios said.
‘I don’t feel like I’m trying to climb up the rankings or win any tournaments. I’m doing it my own way, taking it day by day.’
The star-studded competition features the likes of Rafael Nadal, Grigor Dimitrov and Alex de Minaur.
Kyrgios is now set to go up against American Mackenzie McDonald on Tuesday.