Nick Kyrgios' mother has revealed she drove from Canberra to Melbourne to watch him play at the Australian Open this week, only for him to withdraw due to a knee injury. Kyrgios' heartache at pulling out of his home grand slam has only been compounded by the fact it would have marked the first time in years that mother Nill has watched him play live.
Nill revealed last year that she hasn't been able to watch Kyrgios play for a number of years due to the effect it has on her health. “I can’t expose myself to that anxiety,” she told the Sydney Morning Herald. “I go into a really strange panic. Over the years, I’ve been through a lot.
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“It actually got to a stage where I sought help. I was seeing a psychologist for six months. I was not in a good place. My anxiety level watching Nick was so high.”
It meant Nill wasn't present as Kyrgios' father and sister watched his remarkable run to the Wimbledon final last July. Speaking to Channel 9 at the time, Nill said she couldn't even watch her son play on TV.
“I actually didn’t watch the game,” she said of the final between Kyrgios and Novak Djokovic. “I haven’t watched any of his games.
“I had a very good sleep … I actually watched him go on court. I love that, you know, watching him walking through Wimbledon, just that atmosphere. I love watching him walk on to the court and just see the reaction of the spectators. I watched it until I think when they started warming up and I said, ‘Good luck’ and I went to bed.”
But Nill has been working with a psychologist over the last six months to address the issue and decided it was finally time to watch her son play the sport he loves again. She jumped in the car with her husband and eldest son Christos and made the seven-hour trip to Melbourne.
Unfortunately for the family it all came crashing down when Kyrgios revealed he needs knee surgery and wouldn't be able to play. But for Nill, it still marked a huge step in the right direction.
“I had to still come. My psychologist says I have to watch him. Otherwise I’ll never be able to sit there and watch him ever again. You have to face your fears. That’s what they say," she told the Herald on Wednesday.
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Kyrgios is on much better terms with his family than he was at one stage of his career. Christos revealed last year that they'd previously fallen out but have since patched things up. "For a big chunk of the last six or seven years, I lost my little brother," he wrote in the Sydney Morning Herald.
"That kid I grew up with, who was so carefree and engaging, was almost gone. The world changed him. Tennis changed him. He became distracted; always worried about something. Even when you were with him, he wasn't present in the moment.
"I'd come over to visit mum and dad's and Nick wouldn't get out of bed before midday. And when he did, he was straight out the door. In four or five days, I'd see him for an hour. I missed my brother. I didn't know this other person that he had become."
Christos said the turning point was when Kyrgios met current girlfriend Costeen Hatzi. "She's helped open his eyes again. She's cut from that same cloth where family is the most important thing," said Christos.
"There was a lot of chaos in Nick's life before he met her. The way he wanted his life to be was not the way things were unfolding.
"Seeing him mature and evolve back into the happy fulfilled version of himself is all that I could have asked for. For us, we've already got our baby brother back. Mum and dad have got their son back."
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