Nick Kyrgios couldn’t stop smiling as he made his mixed doubles debut with Venus Williams at Wimbledon, and the laughter kept coming in the press room before things took a dark turn.
The Aussie tennis star was in fine form after he and his new 41-year-old partner won their first round match in London, but Kyrgios knows all too well tennis isn’t always fun and games.
Watch Tennis Live with beIN SPORTS on Kayo. Live Coverage of ATP + WTA Tour Tournaments including Every Finals Match. New to Kayo? Try 14-Days Free Now >
The Canberran has been one of Australian sport’s favourite punching bags since he burst onto the scene, whether it be because of outbursts at officials, slurs about rivals’ girlfriends or tank jobs when he didn’t feel like competing.
Kyrgios is in a very different space now, having undergone a transformation as the voice of reason during the Covid-19 pandemic and become much more at ease with who he is and what he’s achieved in tennis.
Asked about the abuse players cop on social media after he and Williams secured their straight sets victory over Americans Austin Krajicek and Sabrina Santamaria on Saturday, Kyrgios revealed just how badly the haters used to get to him.
“People are just idiots, really, on social media,” he told reporters “Everyone seems to think they have some sort of voice on social media and it’s bad because it can affect people’s mental health.
“I’m a player that deals with it every single day. Now that I don’t care about it, I still see it and it’s not so easy to block out. It’s taken me years and years of resilience and maturity to now not really care about it so much. But it affects people.
“It got really bad for me to the point where I didn’t want to play tournaments. I didn’t want to go out there and play because I knew all I was receiving were negative comments that were hurtful.
“Whether it was racism comments, racial slurs, just little things or anything that would destroy my confidence.
“With the way social media’s going it’s always going to be there.
“You have people that have nothing going on in their life and are so hateful. They have such a s**t life that they just have to find things to beat down other people. It’s awful, it’s really tough.”
Nick Kyrgios is loving life alongside Venus Williams. (Photo by AELTC/Ian Walton/POOL/AFP).Source:AFP
Kyrgios is comfortable these days with his standing in the sport. He has no ambition to be like a Roger Federer or Novak Djokovic — players who eat, sleep and breathe tennis because it’s the most important thing in their life.
The 26-year-old also won’t have any regrets if he never wins a grand slam. Instead, he’s happy putting on a show for people who pay good money to be entertained.
But would he like to have reached this level of self-assuredness earlier in his career, rather than put up with all the online hate being spewed by social media trolls? Surprisingly, no, because everything Kyrgios has experienced — positive and negative — has led to him evolving into the person he is today.
“I definitely feel as if I wouldn’t be at this mature state of mind if I didn’t go through all those things early on in my career and dealt with such hate and such disgusting behaviour from other people towards me,” Kyrgios said.
“I wouldn’t want to go back in time or anything like that. I’m proud to see how far I’ve come, what I’ve achieved in this sport.
“At one stage I was an overweight kid from Canberra who was told numerous times from every single coach, ‘You may as well retire’, all this bulls**t. I’m proud of who I am and who I’ve become and what I’ve achieved in this sport. Everything now is a bonus for me.
“I wouldn't want to have my time again. I’ve overcome a lot and I’m just proud at the end of the day.”
Kyrgios plays Canadian young gun Felix Auger Aliassime in the third round at Wimbledon, after starting his campaign with a win over 21st seed Ugo Humbert in a five-set thriller before easing past Italian Gianluca Mager in straight sets.
He doesn’t let the outside noise get to him these days. (Photo by Adrian Dennis/AFP)Source:AFP
Source: Read Full Article