World no. 47 Nick Kyrgios is back on the court at this week's ATP 250 Murray River Open event in Melbourne, scoring two victories to reach the third round. Nick hadn't played since Acapulco in February last year, deciding to stay at home in Canberra during the pandemic and not thinking about tennis for a couple of months.
The Aussie is back in action ahead of the Australian Open, beating Alexandre Muller and Harry Bourchier to reach the last 16. In the first match after such a long break, Nick couldn't play at his best against Muller, struggling with a knee injury but finding a way to cross the finish line first.
Kyrgios played better in the opening set against Bourchier and stayed calm in the second to seal the deal in straight sets and arrange the meeting against Borna Coric. In that Bourchier clash, Nick had an extended dispute with the chair umpire in the second set's 11th game following a tight time violation, calling for a supervisor but continuing to play.
Nick Kyrgios has made a winning return this week.
Bourchier led 6-4 in the tie break and earned another set point at 6-6 following a lucky net cord return winner. Remaining composed, Kyrgios erased them all and prevailed 9-7 to move over the top and save energy for the next encounter.
After the match, Kyrgios said he didn't miss tennis that much and that he has no goals set in front of him. Still, he wants to control his anger more efficiently and compete at his best every time he steps on the court.
"When I look down, it brings me back memories of how Kobe would have competed, and how he would have been remembered. When I'm on the court, I know like I've been around the Tour for a while now. I feel like I'm not going to get as angry as I used to.
I feel as if I know what tennis style I need to be playing to win matches now. I still get frustrated, but I could have gotten angry today when he got the net tape to bring up the set point. I stay composed, and that's the way it is.
My relationship with tennis can change in a minute, but I think me being away from it, I'm not getting as angry as before. I don't know, it's instilled a lot of perspective in everyone, but I feel like I've had that throughout my career anyway.
I haven't acted as if tennis is the be-and-end-all for me. I take it day by day; I don't set any goals. I don't want to say I'm going to play tennis for longer or shorter. I want to take it day by day, show up every day, try and play good tennis, be positive and a better role model than I was last year; that's it," Nick Kyrgios said.