Sunday September 19, 2021

Kyrgios lacks fiery passion in losing ATP Washington opener

AFP
August 05, 2021

WASHINGTON: Longing for the days when he would scream and throw racquets, Nick Kyrgios struggled to care on crucial points in making a first-round exit Tuesday at the ATP Citi Open.

The 26-year-old Australian, who won the Washington event when it was last played in 2019, lacked his trademark spark and passion in a 6-4, 6-4 loss to American Mackenzie McDonald.

“I’m disappointed,” Kyrgios said. “My head’s in the shed, to be honest.”

Kyrgios, a six-time ATP champion, was known for racquet-smashing anger and screaming when upset. But those trademarks were missing in defeat.

“I feel like I actually enjoyed my tennis more when it was so up and down. Like you see me today, like I’m losing and I’m barely getting angry,” Kyrgios said.

“I actually miss the days when I was losing and I was carrying on and I was getting fined and I was throwing my racquets.

“That just meant that I just cared a lot. I actually cared what was happening. Now I lose and I’m actually happy for the other guy.”

Kyrgios, ranked 77th, was in only his fifth event of the year and since last year’s Covid-19 shutdown began.

“I can’t be too hard on myself. I haven’t played a lot of matches,” Kyrgios said. “I don’t really feel like my body and my mind quite understand the severity of some points because I haven’t played that much.

“I never want to lose. I’m a competitor. But... it’s weird. When I’m out on court, I don’t feel the severity of a break point, I don’t feel the pressure like I used to. It’s like I don’t feel the emotions as much as I used to when I’m on court.”

Earlier this week, Kyrgios spoke of having mental issues “20 times” more severe than those faced by Naomi Osaka and the sport taking him to a “dark” place.