Naomi Osaka Melbourne Summer Set 2022

‘He was like my brother’ – Naomi Osaka ‘relates’ to Nick Kyrgios struggles

Naomi Osaka revealed Nick Kyrgios contacted her after the US Open and said she “relates” to Kyrgios “getting overwhelmed” and not being able to “handle pressure too well.”

Both four-time Grand Slam ace Naomi Osaka and Australian icon Nick Kyrgios have struggled with their mental health during their time on their respective Tours and the duo have been singing each others praises over the past few weeks.

At the start of her Indian Wells Masters campaign, Osaka was almost reduced to tears after a heckler shouted “Naomi, you suck!” The incident also sparked Osaka to start seeing a professional therapist for her mental health.

As a result of the incident, 21-time Slam legend Rafael Nadal and three-time Slam ace Andy Murray extended their sympathy to the Japanese star but it was Kyrgios who seemed to be the most aggrieved by fan disruption.

The heckling comes after Osaka withdrew from both the French Open and Wimbledon last year, citing depression and anxiety as the main reasons.

When asked about whether she had discussed mental health matters with Nick Kyrgios, Osaka said “yeah – I don’t know if he wants me to even talk about this – but I would say probably after the US Open he reached out.

“For me, it’s been very interesting to watch him just because I never really could tell what his actual personality was like. But I would say he’s a nice guy, very polite and we have talked about stuff like that but not really deep, kind of more surface level.”

The reporter then referenced when Kyrgios said he “relates” to her struggles.

To which Osaka replied “when I was like coming on Tour or watching him because he’s been on Tour for a very long time, or not very long but long enough, I kind of thought he was like my brother like we kind of look the same to me,” Osaka laughed.

“I always felt like his behaviour was kind of like – I’m not trying to be offensive, I hope he doesn’t read this and take it this way – like someone that can’t really handle the pressure too well so they’re kind of overwhelmed and for me I relate to that feeling a lot.

“But I think we channel it in different ways. For me, I feel like he also has a lot of responsibilities, like even now coming to the practice courts, he has a lot of kids watching him. I know that he loves that, but I think it’s a bit of a double sided coin.”

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Tim Farthing, Tennishead Editorial Director & Owner, has been a huge tennis fan his whole life. He's a tennis journalist and entrepreneur as well as playing tennis to a national standard. He also helps manage his local club and volunteers for his local tennis organisation. He's a specialist in content about the administration of professional tennis and tennis coaching for all levels.