Flawed Genius Nick Kyrgios ‘Comfortable’ With Himself

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Kyrgios’ Wimbledon campaign was interrupted by news first published in an Australian newspaper on Tuesday that he was summoned to court in his hometown of Canberra in August over an assault allegation.

File photo of Nick Kyrgios. PA

Love him or hate him, the flawed genius that is Nick Kyrgios is one of the most polarizing figures on the tennis circuit but he, at least, is “comfortable” with himself.

The enigmatic Australian stunned the tennis world at the age of 19 in 2014 when he beat then-world number one Rafael Nadal on his way to the Wimbledon quarter-finals.

But frequent tantrums and fines overshadowed his undoubted talent and he never achieved a better Grand Slam finish.

Eight years later, Kyrgios finds himself in the last eight again at Wimbledon and this time with a serious chance of realizing his full potential.

Nadal has in the past described Kyrgios as ‘not a villain’ despite his antics on the pitch, saying he is an immensely talented player who could challenge for the top spot.

But Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas, who fell victim to Kyrgios in a tumultuous third-round clash at the All England Club this year, has accused the Australian of intimidating opponents with his outbursts on the pitch.

Kyrgios, 27, laughed at the accusation and was on his best behavior in his fourth-round victory over American player Brandon Nakashima.

Kyrgios’ Wimbledon campaign was interrupted by news first published in an Australian newspaper on Tuesday that he was summoned to court in his hometown of Canberra in August over an assault allegation.

First steps

Tennis coach Andrew Bulley recalls a ‘small, chubby and energetic’ Kyrgios who showed up at the National Sports Club in Lyneham, Canberra, aged four, eager to take lessons with his brother and her older sister.

He was always better than his peers but ‘he was nothing super special’ until a growth spurt in his early teens meant Kyrgios became a big player with an explosive serve now ranked among the best in the industry.

While most kids under Bulley’s tutelage trained as they were told “Nick would always experiment, which you can see when he plays – he always has four or five options ready to go”.

But there was also the bored look when things were too easy or too difficult.

In 2013, at 17, Kyrgios was the highest ranked junior and the winner of the Australian Open men’s singles title. The following year, it was his surprise victory over Nadal.

Bulley notes the strong support Kyrgios has from his Greek father Giorgos and his mother Norlaila, a Malaysian, who called for discipline and enforcement.

Norlaila was born into a royal family but renounced her title when she moved to Australia.

“Perfectionist”

Giorgos describes his 40th-ranked son as a hard on himself “perfectionist”.

“The only advice we can give him is to do your best. Winning or losing, you can’t predict the future. He knows he has a good chance of playing well against anyone as long as he stay strong.”

Since his breakthrough in 2013, Kyrgios has been without a coach, once telling tennisnet.com that he doesn’t like to listen to advice.

Next up for Kyrgios at Wimbledon is Chilean Cristian Garin, then potentially a semi-final against Nadal and a possible final against Novak Djokovic.

Nadal has won six of his nine matches against the unpredictable Aussie while Djokovic has lost both times he has faced Kyrgios.

Kyrgios’ checkered career includes fines estimated at over $550,000 for infractions such as lack of effort, racket explosion, spitting at fans and throwing a chair on the court.

In an Instagram post earlier this year, he opened up about his mental health struggles, admitting suicidal thoughts, self-harm and substance abuse, referring to one of his “darkest times” in 2019.

“If you look closely, on my right arm, you can see my self-harm. I was having suicidal thoughts and literally having trouble getting out of bed, let alone performing in front of millions,” he said. , showing a photo from the Australian Open that year.

But he also said he was proud to have “completely turned around”.

In a more recent assessment, he told ABC News, “I look in the mirror every day and know that I’m good about myself.

“I don’t care if I don’t win a Grand Slam (singles title) one day, or I don’t want to be like Roger Federer or something like that.

“But now, honestly, I don’t care how I’m perceived because I know deep down, and the people around me know, that I’m a caring person. I’m always myself.”

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