The story of Kyrgios
Wimbledon 2019, Nick Kyrgios soon had to face Rafael Nadal, right in the second round. The Australian player did not start well, he lost 3-6 in the first set. Efforts to the end helped Kyrgios win 6-3 against his senior from Spain. But that’s all Nick can do. All the remaining 2 sets, bravery helped Nadal win. The cruel thing is, both set 3 and set 4 must be determined by a series of tie-breaks, where Rafa’s bravery and old age speak.
Remembering the match that day, people only remember the ugly behavior of Nick Kyrgios. When the two players were drawing 1-1 after the first two sets and drawing 4-4 in the third set, Nick Kyrgios counterattacked with strong force straight into Rafael Nadal’s position. Kyrgios did not apologize like many players do at similar balls. Nadal angrily turned to look at his opponent for a few seconds, while Kyrgios happily tossed his racket to celebrate the score.
But in reality, it was Nick Kyrgios who was pitiful and to blame in London that day. Because the defeat to Rafael Nadal took away all the energy, pride and preparation for many months of the Australian tennis player. Thus, Kyrgios became bewildered, completely giving up on himself.
“I really thought about death. I abused myself with slashes all over my right arm. It’s full of scars, and that’s why you see me wearing the sleeve. It helps me cover up the rough scars,” Nick Kyrgios shared in the second season of the Netflix documentary Break Point.
The choking horse continued: “I woke up and saw my father sitting next to me. He sobbed for me. At that moment, I realized that I had let things go too far. Alcohol, drug abuse, and self-harm not only didn’t help, it wreaked havoc on me. I ended up going to a psychiatric hospital in London to treat my depression.”
The fierceness of tennis
Tennis players have a packed schedule for 12 months of the year, and they barely get to spend time with their families. For sensitive people, it’s really torture. It is not natural that Ashleigh Barty retired at the age of 25, while dominating the tennis industry.
In June 2022, former number 4 in the world women’s tennis Jelena Dokic revealed that only 6 weeks before, she almost jumped from the floor. At the time of sharing his story, Dokic was 39 years old.
The Croatian female tennis player, who has retired since 2014, is still obsessed with tennis: “On April 28, 2022, I almost jumped off the 26th floor balcony to take my own life. Will never forget that day. I just want to end the pain and suffering. I pushed myself over the edge, not even knowing how I did it. The help of a psychologist saved me.”
Dokic’s crisis was directly caused by her father’s constant abuse during her time playing tennis. But part of the reason is because both Dokic and his father are obsessed with winning, so that when they fail, they can only beat and humiliate.
In the world of tennis, stories like Nick Kyrgios or Jelena Dokic are not uncommon, even relatively common whether players share their stories or not. Tennis is an individual sport, where players have to be almost self-sufficient in all accounts in an “all-in” fashion. Only a few won prizes, while the crowd lived in tight pockets and worried about the hefty fees to hire a trainer or treat an injury.
With Nick Kyrgios, he is fortunate to have a father who loves him above all else. Nick’s father George said of how he helped his son through a time of crisis: “I’m here for Nick, nothing else matters. When I’m not around it, it’s my top priority. Nick is very sensitive, very fragile.”
Finally, Nick Kyrgios returns strong. Last year, Kyrgios and compatriot Thanasi Kokkinakis won the Australian Open men’s doubles. By Wimbledon 2022, he reached the final and only lost to Novak Djokovic.