Australia’s Nick Kyrgios claims he is back to his best in time to make an impact at Wimbledon because he is no longer hampered by injuries and homesickness.
Kyrgios, the world number 20, has suffered a frustrating season marred by hip and shoulder problems. But he sees signs he is approaching full fitness as he embarks on the build-up to Wimbledon, which gets underway on July 3.
“I’ve had hip pain for the last seven months and I’ve had injections in my hip and shoulder,” he told reporters at Queen’s Club yesterday. “I’m in really good shape now. I’ve been doing a lot of rehab and I’m able to move without pain in my hip.
“It’s been a while, so happy with that. I feel good. I’ve been practising two hours a day, moving well.” Kyrgios’s morale has been lifted by his arrival in England after spending several months slogging around the clay court circuit. Canberra-born Kyrgios is prone to severe homesickness and he feels that sometimes negatively affects his performances.
So, with the Wimbledon warm-up event at Queen’s starting next week, the 22-year-old is relieved to have been able to settle into a rented house in London with his mother and girlfriend.
Kyrgios hopes his positive mood will show through when he faces Donald Young of the United States in the first round at Queen’s. “I’ve been on road now for a couple of months and I was really dreading it,” he said.
“The homesickness kicks in pretty much straight away when I’m in Europe for the clay, but when I’m in America or London it feels like home.
“Coming onto the grass kind of refreshes you a little bit. I love the setting here. I have a house for the next couple of weeks, my mum’s here, my girlfriend’s here. When my mum is in the house cooking for me, it’s good.”
Already missing home, Kyrgios was also rocked by the death of his grandfather earlier this year. “It was tough for a while after my grandfather passed away. He was one of my number one fans,” Kyrgios said. “He watched all of my matches even when he was sick. I saw him every day when I was back in Australia.”
Beaten by Kevin Anderson in the second round of the French Open, Kyrgios hopes his return to the fast grass courts, a perfect match for his hard-hitting style, will trigger an uptick in his results. Kyrgios burst onto the tennis scene at Wimbledon in 2014 when he stunned Rafael Nadal en route to the quarter-finals.
But since then he has made only one other appearance in the last eight of a Grand Slam, while earning a reputation as the sport’s most volatile character after rows with fellow players, the media and spectators.
Amid fears that his lack of maturity will ruin his talent, Kyrgios this week told a British newspaper that he “tanked” several tournaments this year and often woke up feeling like he didn’t want to play tennis.
Yet Kyrgios says the addition of part-time coach Sebastien Grosjean to his team has helped him become more focused.
“I feel I’ve played some good matches this year when I had to dig deep and come from behind,” he said. “Sebastien has been helping me a lot. At the same time there’s a lot to do. I wouldn’t say I’m there mentally yet.
“I’m not thinking about making the top five. I’m just trying to get through every day and put in as much effort as I can. When I start setting goals I can lose motivation and stop trying.”
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