Nick Kyrgios has lifted the lid on his battle with drink, drugs and self harm with the tennis superstar now finding a greater balance on and off the court after beating his mental demons.
Kyrgios is one of sport’s most controversial figures with his no-nonsense antics on the court dividing opinion, while many fans feel the Australian gun has yet to unleash his huge potential.
Mental health struggles in tennis have been cast under the spotlight since Naomi Osaka pulled out of the French Open last year, and Kyrgios – as one of the sport’s most talked about stars – has had to contend with a huge amount of negativity directed his way.
Australian tennis superstar Nick Kyrgios has opened up on his mental health struggles
Now, the 27-year-old has opened up on his own personal struggle away from the court, telling Wide World of Sports that he resorted to self harm during his booze and drug-fuelled mental battle.
‘It was very serious, to the point of self-harm and it’s not okay,’ he said. ‘I guess I pushed everyone that cared about me away and I wasn’t communicating, and I just shut down real life and I was trying to handle and tackle my problems head-on.
‘I was abusing alcohol a lot, drugs and that spiralled out of control. Now I barely drink – I literally have a glass of wine at dinner. That was the initial kind of thing I had to clean up a little bit and then build my relationship back with my family and get into healthier habits like the basics; like diet, getting good sleep, trying to train a little bit more and that was it. I think COVID helped me a lot with that.’
Kyrgios admits he felt ‘worthless’ and struggled to brush off the feeling of ‘letting people down all the time’, leading to episodes where he ‘cut and burned’ himself.
The 27-year-old is one of the sport’s most controversial figures and certainly divides opinion
Kyrgios admits to booze and drug-fuelled mental struggles and that he self-harmed
‘I felt I was letting people down all the time,’ he said. ‘I felt worthless to be honest, I didn’t feel comfortable, I hated my life at one stage.
‘I was cutting, burning, just pretty f***ed up s***. It was so dark that I kind of liked it as well, like asking people to do it and stuff. What doesn’t kill you makes you stranger (and stronger). I’m still a bit cooked.’
While Kyrgios’ personality has been likened to that of John McEnroe, the Aussie has had to learn to deal with the constant attention and ‘hot takes’ from fans online – a trend he feels is a ‘very big problem with society’.
‘It’s a very big problem with society,’ he said. ‘Everyone thinks their two cents is relevant to someone else’s life. You’re not living their life so how do you know what they should be doing or how they’re feeling on problems there dealing with.
Now, the Australian is in a happier headspace and is finding greater balance in life
He credits the influence of girlfriend Costeen Hatzi for helping him beat his mental demons
‘If you find that peace within yourself, you don’t have to please anyone else – the results are coming. People are always going to have opinions.’
Kyrgios is now in a more positive headspace and credits the influence of his girlfriend Costeen Hatzi. Despite his questionable antics on court, Kyrgios insists he does love tennis.
‘I do love the sport; I’m a massive student of the game and I do enjoy watching tennis at times,’ he said. ‘I love it to a degree; it’s my life and I’ve dedicated hours and hours that I’m never going to get back.’
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