Kyrgios' honest confession: "I tried to be like Federer but I didn't feel myself"

The Australian recalled his early days on Tour, when he was trying to be someone other than his true self

by Lorenzo Ciotti
Kyrgios' honest confession: "I tried to be like Federer but I didn't feel myself"
© Darrian Traynor / Stringer Getty Images Sport

The crowd, the fans and we media all have (or at least I hope, for the most part) a great love for Nick Kyrgios, and seeing him outside the court (and here I also speak for myself) hurts.

Because Nick, in addition to being a great champion, is the tennis player with an exuberant behivior that is somewhat lacking on the Tour.

Let's talk frankly: it's always fun to see Nick on the court, both for his tennis and for his passion and, why not, for the shows on the court that he occasionally grants and indulges in.

He will be a divisive player for many, but I remain of the opinion that he, with his charisma, is an asset for the Tour and his absence is actually noticeable.

Giving an interview with Rainn Wilson podcast Good Trouble with Nick Kyrgios (produced by Noami Osaka's media company Hana Kuma), the Australian talked about his beginnings on the ATP Tour, when he was trying to be a different person than he is.

"When I started being myself: that's when I think I had the most success when I just expressed myself. When I first came on the Tour, I was so out of pocket, like with the normal tennis player.

At that time I was like Andy Murray, Roger Federer and these players who were so clean. And I thought, okay, I'll try to be more like Federer. So I tried to carry two bags on the court, really organised, tried to be really clean and correct.

The first couple of years I didn't feel like myself. I thought this sport was foreign to me. Then I guess there was a point where I thought, I'm just going to be myself. I started wearing basketball jerseys on the court and everyone they were like, what is he doing? But it was when I was myself that I got the most out of it," explained Kyrgios.

Nick Kyrgios and Roger Federer
Nick Kyrgios and Roger Federer© Clive Brunskill / Staff Getty Images Sport

When will Nick come back on the court?

Answering fans' questions on his Instagram account, Kyrgios released important updates on his current physical condition.

"I honestly see improvements day after day with my wrist and I'm in the middle of getting back into shape. I'm not sure of the exact timeframe, but I will be back. I will be cautious and take my time. We know what happens when I'm healthy," wrote the Australian.

Among the curiosities of fans, one could not miss that relating to the matches played by Kyrgios against the best players in the world.

A user asked him bluntly: "What goes through your mind when you face tennis players of the caliber of Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal?" The Australian replied: "I just wanted to show the world that a guy can stand up and beat tennis players who look like gods."

Kyrgios is 2-1 ahead in head-to-head matches with Djokovic: he beat the Serbian champion in Acapulco and Indian Wells in 2017, but lost the Wimbledon final in 2022. On the other hand, he has played nine matches against Nadal: three occasions in which he beat the Majorcan.

The Australian has talked on more than one occasion about the problems he faced as a child, when he suffered episodes of bullying and racism during childhood. Kyrgios was overweight and approached tennis following the advice of his mother Norlaila to lose weight. It is difficult to imagine there is not a connection between the traumas of the past and some over the top attitudes not always understood by people.

Nick Kyrgios
Nick Kyrgios© Handout / Handout Getty Images Sport

In an interesting interview with Jemele Hill on the talk show Good Trouble, Kyrgios talked about himself, describing his journey.

"My journey in the world of tennis is a little different from yours in that of journalism. I hated tennis. I was very overweight as a child and my mother dragged me to the tennis courts to get me active and lose weight. I didn't want to play it, I was crying. To be honest it was traumatising," explained Kyrgios..

"I loved basketball and the culture of that sport. I would sit for hours watching tapes and CDs. I loved everything about basketball: the locker room and the teamwork. Listening to your talk about the passion you have for writing, I would being able to go back in time and follow the dream of the NBA.

I guess my parents pushed me towards tennis. They love this sport and it is very popular in Australia. They saw that I had talent and saw it as a way to have a better life. Maybe it was fate, I wouldn't be here otherwise," he added.