A year away from tennis hasn’t revived Nick Kyrgios’s love of the game or his fellow players.
Ahead of the Australian Open Kyrgios revealed that he struggled to get back into the grind of training and took five months off, continuing his love-hate relationship with the game.
Opting to stay at home in Canberra rather than travel overseas to play through the coronavirus pandemic, Kyrgios said he didn’t miss the game or most players.
He has had a long-running battle with world No.1 Novak Djokovic, last week labelling the Open defending champion a “tool” for writing a list of player demands during hotel quarantine.
“I don’t miss too many people on tour to be honest, apart from all the Australian guys and a couple of good friends,” the 25-year-old said on Saturday from Melbourne Park.
“But I actually didn’t touch a tennis racquet for the first four or five months of quarantine.
“I actually wanted to get completely away from it and it was actually tough to start getting back into it, I’m not going to lie.
“I didn’t really miss the game that much … and it was a bit of task to get into a routine, wake up and say ‘I’ve got the Australian Open around the corner so I need to put some work in’.”
He said he battled some injuries through the year while he wanted to spend more time with his mother Norlaila, who has had health issues, but now felt “refreshed”.
The world No.47 said he has been training on court for about two hours a day for the last few months and was ready for an assault on the Open, where he will look to improve on a quarter-final showing in 2015 and two fourth-round appearances.
Kyrgios will play his first competitive match in a year on Monday when he meets French world No. 208 Alexandre Muller in the opening round of the Murray River Open, one of three men’s Open lead-in events.
But in typical Kyrgios fashion, he said he didn’t know anything about Muller or even when the tournament started.
He played a set in practice on Margaret Court Arena on Saturday with Jordan Thompson, who also spent the past month with Kyrgios in Canberra.
“I’m excited … I played a set with Jordan Thompson today and it was fun to be out there,” he said.
“I’m not taking this for granted – it’s the Australian Open and I’m extremely blessed to be here again.
“Everyone has done an amazing job to get it going and I feel like we’re keeping things safe so I’m excited to see go out there and play and hopefully I will have some good results.”