SYDNEY – Temperamental Australian tennis star Nick Kyrgios says he is talking to psychologists and “trying to get on top” of his mental health after another roller-coaster season where he was criticised for his on-court antics.
Kyrgios finished his season early in October after an elbow injury forced him out of the Kremlin Cup in Moscow.
The fiery 23-year-old lost his status as Australian number one to 19-year-old Alex de Minaur in the same month.
Returning home to prepare for next year, the world number 37 admitted he was working through mental health issues that had plagued him throughout the season.
“I was obviously struggling with a couple of things on and off the court this year, so it hasn't been easy,” he told hometown newspaper the Canberra Times. “But I'm starting to see some psychologists and trying to get on top of my mental health.
“I probably left it a little too long. But I've been doing that and I feel more open about talking about it, I don't feel like I've got to hide that sort of stuff anymore.”
The supremely talented but combustible Kyrgios has become infamous for petulant behaviour, outbursts and meltdowns on court.
At the US Open in August, an umpire gave the Australian a controversial pep talk during his second-round game for his perceived lack of effort.
He exited the Shanghai Masters in the first round last month, where he was also criticised for his lacklustre performance.
Kyrgios said he was “very lucky” to have had an international tennis career and announced an overhaul of his playing schedule to try and avoid a repeat of his mental and physical burnout.
“I'm going to work with my team to get the correct schedule, I don't think I've got it right the last couple of years because I haven't made it to the end of the year once,” he said.
Kyrgios started the year well when he captured a fourth career title in Brisbane in January.
But he then missed two months of the campaign, including the French Open, in the spring.
A hip injury forced his early withdrawal from the ATP season last year.
Agence France-Presse (AFP)