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Open-hearted Nick Kyrgios emerges as a leader in the fight for better mental health

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chrisoddo
UTS

Nick Kyrgios is one of the most show stopping athletes to grace the sport of tennis in a long, long time. Just listen to the roar of the crowd that echoes from the stadiums he plays in and you’ll know what we mean. The 28-year-old is graced with insane abilities – devilishly soft hands, an eye-popping serve and a trick shot arsenal to die for – but UTS fans will soon come to recognize that the Canberra, Australia native is more than just a freak on the tennis court. He’s also an engaging, open-hearted personality that loves to smile and live life to the fullest. 

Furthermore, he wears his heart on his sleeve and isn’t afraid to show his vulnerability. 

Anyone who binged the hit tennis documentary “Break Point” on Netflix knows that. In the show cameras follow Kyrgios on his quest to win the Wimbledon title in 2022 (he finished as runner-up, losing to Novak Djokovic in a thrilling final), and in the process Kyrgios opens up about the mental health struggles he has encountered over the course of his career. 

“It took me seven, eight years to be able to just open up about that,” Kyrgios said this week at Wimbledon, where is preparing to take the Grand Slam court for the first time since having knee surgery in January of 2023. “I kept it very close to the chest for a long time.”

The first step: admitting your struggling

You don’t have to be a world-class tennis player to experience mental health issues. It hits all walks of life and can be devastating. Kyrgios says it’s important to be open and seek support. 

“I think it’s important,” he said. “I think a lot of athletes kind of go through that. But just general people that go through the mental struggles, I feel like it’s a bit better now. Especially males felt like it was kind of hard to open up, admit they were struggling.” 

These days the Aussie feels much better about himself and it shows in his tennis. 

“I feel very different to how I was feeling obviously throughout that period in 2019,” he said. “I guess I feel great now. Obviously, it’s hard because I’m putting so much expectation on myself. Compared to that time, I’m feeling a lot better.” 

Careful with social media 

Kyrgios has another bit of advice that could go out to all young people. Don’t take social media too seriously. Having been a victim of hate on the platforms, Kyrgios says he has worked hard to build his self-image and to not let negativity on platforms like Twitter and Instagram drag him down. 

“I feel like I’m matured to the point where I know I have to make an effort to not be on my phone as much just because, yeah, it’s so negative, it’s so negative. There’s obviously a lot of positive as well, a lot of support, which is amazing. 

“If you don’t make the conscious effort, it can really get you down, definitely.” 

It’s a lesson anyone on social media can benefit from… 

Ready to climb again 

As far as the tennis goes, Kyrgios is hoping he can get his body healthy so that he can compete for Grand Slam titles once again. He’s taken a big step in getting back on the court this season. Next, he will look to fill up on the confidence that has carried him to seven ATP titles, 27 top 10 wins and victories over Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. 

“What I’ve achieved in my career never leaves,” he said. “Like it never leaves you. I just got to take it day by day.” 

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King Kyrgios

Nick Kyrgios