Nick Kyrgios as Indian Wells

Nick Kyrgios gives credit to Naomi Osaka and ‘relates’ to her mental health struggles

Nick Kyrgios said he “related” to Naomi Osaka’s mental health battles and shared he “couldn’t handle the constant negativity” in the past.

Last month, Australian player Nick Kyrgios candidly shared that he had suffered from “dark thoughts” throughout his career and admitted that he had self-harmed in the past.

However, with things going well both on and off the court, Kyrgios has said he is now in a much better mental space.

In January, Kyrgios won the Australian Open doubles alongside close friend Thanasi Kokkinakis. He also reached the quarter-finals of the Indian Wells Masters and is currently in the round of 16 of the Miami Open, displaying some excellent tennis to boot.

In a post-match press conference after beating Fabio Fognini, Kyrgios said “Naomi [Osaka] pulled the pin at that (2021) French Open when she [revealed she] was dealing with all that negative emotion, and when she just pulled the pin, I related to that.

“I felt like I constantly played so much under that mental stress and negativity that I genuinely just couldn’t function anymore with the pressures. I couldn’t function with the negativity.

“Every day was just constant negativity from you guys (the media), from eventually my family, eventually from my friends, from everyone. There was no positivity, and it was just eating me up and I just genuinely hated my life,” Kyrgios recalled.

“It’s taken a long time, and obviously I’m just towards a point where I’m just happy now. I don’t take anything for granted.

“I don’t think about all those mistakes I made prior. There’s no time for regret for me. I try to be positive, try to help others and try to uplift. I understand that I’m a role model for the younger generations.

“It took a while, I had to fix it myself.”

Speaking to Tennis Channel immediately after the match, Kyrgios said “I’ve got a good, tight-knit group of people around me now and I’m not afraid to open up anymore. I think that’s the biggest thing.

“I think, males around my age really struggle with coming out, it’s a sign of ‘weakness’ or something if you are struggling mentally. I don’t think that’s the case at all. I think it’s actually a sign of strength to be vulnerable and actually tackle your problems head on,” he believes.

“I feel like that’s the best thing that I did, just admit that I was struggling.”

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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.