Controversial Aussie tennis star Nick Kyrgios has spoken publicly about his battle with depression and says returning to live back home with his parents in Canberra has helped him prepare for 2021.
Kyrgios, a polarising figure both on and off the tennis court, admits he has been in a “lonely, dark place” due to the isolating schedule of professional tennis players.
“A lot of people were putting pressure on me, I put a lot of pressure on myself,” Kyrgios told Stellar magazine.
“I just lost joy for the game and I was spiralling out of control.
“I fell into depression because of the things I thought I had to be. I was afraid to go out and talk to people because I thought I’d let them down because I wasn’t winning matches.”
Kyrgios recalled one day at an event in Shanghai where he could not get out of bed.
“When I was struggling – and it wasn’t just about tennis – there were moments when I was seriously depressed. I remember waking up in Shanghai one year and it was 4pm and I was still in bed, curtains closed. I didn’t want to see the light of day,” he revealed.
“I didn’t feel like I could trust anyone. It was a lonely, dark place.
“I don’t think people understand how lonely tennis can be. You’re out there on the court on your own. You can’t really talk to anyone. You have to figure things out for yourself. I did struggle with that.”
This year has seen a softer side of Kyrgios emerge, after he first pledged to donate $200 for every ace he served in January as Australia was ravaged by bushfires.
He also went on to organise the Rally for Relief fundraiser that raised more than $4.8m for those families affected.
When COVID shutdown much of the international tennis tour, Kyrgios chose to remain at home with his parents in Canberra and has helped countless families struggling financially.
And he became a vocal opponent to superstar Novak Djokovic’s ill-fated Adria Tour event, which saw a number of stars and their support struck down by the deadly disease.
Despite not playing in a professional tournament for months, Kyrgios said he was happy back at home.
“On tour there’s a seven-month block when I don’t get to see my family or be home, so I’m really taking advantage of everything going on at the moment,” Kyrgios says.
“My days are so boring.
“I wake up, I get a coffee, I pick up my girlfriend from work and I train.”
Kyrgios plans to be back in action at the Australian Open in 2021.
If you or anyone you know needs assistance, call Lifeline Australia on 13 11 14.