Kyrgios opens up on struggle with depression

Nick Kyrgios says depression took him to a 'lonely, dark place'

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The resident ‘bad boy’ of tennis, Nick Kyrgios has revealed that he struggled with depression and that it took him to a “lonely, dark place.”

In an interview with Sydney’s Sunday Telegraph, Kyrgios said that expectations, from others as well as himself, had started affecting his mental health.

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“When I was struggling – and it wasn’t just about tennis – there were moments when I was seriously depressed,” the 25-year-old said.

“I remember waking up in Shanghai one year and it was 4pm and I was still in bed, curtains closed. I didn’t want to see the light of day.

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“A lot of people were putting pressure on me, I put a lot of pressure on myself. I felt like no-one wanted to know me as a person, they just wanted to get a hold of me as a tennis player and use me.

“I didn’t feel like I could trust anyone. It was a lonely, dark place. And things came from that. I just lost joy for the game and I was spiralling out of control.”

The Australian had burst onto the scene in 2014, when, at the age of 19, he defeated World No 1 Rafael Nadal in the fourth round of Wimbledon. But Kyrgios hasn’t been able to follow up on that promise, and is now more in the news for his outbursts or on-court tantrums.

He has been fined by the ATP multiple times for ‘tanking’ matches, and was handed a 16-week ban and fined $25,000 in September 2019 for ‘aggregated behavior.’

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“I fell into depression because of the things I thought I had to be,” he explained.

“I was afraid to go out and talk to people because I thought I’d let them down because I wasn’t winning matches.

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“I don’t think people understand how lonely tennis can be. You’re out there on the court on your own. You can’t really talk to anyone. You have to figure things out for yourself. I did struggle with that.”

Having reached a career high of 13 in 2016, Kyrgios has slipped to No 45 on the charts. The Australian has chosen not to travel for tournaments during the Coronavirus pandemic, and hasn’t played a competitive match since the ATP event in Acapulco, Mexico in February.

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A lot of tennis players have recently opened up about seeking help from mental heath professionals. After the French Open, women’s champion Iga Swiatek and Canadian star Denis Shapovalov said that sports psychologists had played a major part in their success.