Nick Kyrgios has credited four-time grand slam champion Naomi Osaka for helping him to deal with his inner demons.
After the Australian produced a clinical display to dispatch Italy’s Fabio Fognini in the third round of the ATP Masters 1000 tournament in Miami, he once again spoke about the mental struggles he had endured over the past few years.
Kyrgios said he had moved on from the dark places in his life and had found a kindred spirit in Osaka, who has blazed a trail on the topic of mental health in sport.
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“Naomi kind of pulled the pin at that French Open (in 2021) when she (disclosed she) was dealing with all that negative kind of emotion, and when she just kind of pulled the pin, I related to that,” Kyrgios said.
Osaka withdrew from last year’s French Open after a row with tournament organisers over media duties, explaining that she had been suffering from depression for almost three years.
Her disclosure inspired a number of top athletes to make public their own struggles.
“I felt like I constantly played so much under that mental stress and negativity that I genuinely just couldn’t function anymore with the pressures. I couldn’t function with the negativity,” Kyrgios told reporters in Miami.
“Every day was just constant negativity from you guys, from eventually my family, eventually from my friends, from everyone.
“There was no positivity, and it was just eating me up and I just genuinely hated my life.
“It’s taken a long time, and obviously I’m just towards a point where I’m just happy now… I had to fix it myself.”
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