Nick Kyrgios girlfriend's 'secret' role in rise to grand slam contender

The Aussie tennis star has lifted the lid on his 'secret weapon' ahead of the Australian Open - girlfriend Costeen Hatzi.

Nick Kyrgios, pictured here with girlfriend Costeen Hatzi.
Nick Kyrgios has attributed his newfound success to 'secret weapon' Costeen Hatzi. Image: Getty

Nick Kyrgios has opened up about his newfound happiness on and off the court, describing girlfriend Costeen Hatzi as his 'secret weapon'. The controversial Aussie star enjoyed the best year of his career in 2022, highlighted by an improbable run to the Wimbledon final where he went down to Novak Djokovic.

He also won the Australian Open doubles title and three other titles at ATP level, compiling the fourth-best win-percentage in singles on the men's tour (37-10). Only World No.1 Carlos Alcaraz, No.2 Rafa Nadal and No.5 Djokovic had a better strike rate in 2022.

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Despite narrowly missing out on the Newcombe Medal and blasting tennis officials as a result, Kyrgios is happier than he's ever been. When asked on Friday what he puts that down to, the 27-year-old had no hesitation in pointing to his girlfriend.

"None of this could have been done without her," he told AAP. "It's been a very successful year, not only on the tennis court but just in general. I'm feeling really, really good about everything and just enjoying life.

"And meeting Costeen was probably my favourite moment, probably the best thing that's happened to me - and the year I've had as a highly motivated and highly pushed player, has been because of her. That's been my favourite experience.

"I just feel happier off the court, really just trying to be happy off the court - and that shows up on the court too. She's just the best thing ever and just makes me feel amazing, believes in my tennis and believes in me off the court too. We have such a good relationship."

Asked if he believes Costeen has been his secret weapon, Kyrgios responded: "That's it, that's it."

Kyrgios was left fuming after missing out on the Newcombe Medal, claiming he'd been 'disrespected' after the gong went to Ash Barty instead. Many put the snub down to Kyrgios' refusal to make himself available for the Davis Cup, which he explained was due to the way he's been treated in the past by Australian fans.

When asked if he thought perceptions about him had changed in 2022, Kyrgios said: "I don't really care to be honest. Either way, I know I've stayed true to myself ... I play the game the way I want to play it.

"And whatever people say, my stadiums are always full. A lot of people have gravitated towards my type of tennis, I've been a kind of icon in the sport and, obviously, been able to be consistent in 2022. I guess you could say it was a breakthrough year."

Nick Kyrgios and Costeen Hatzi, pictured here at the Australian Open in January.
Nick Kyrgios and Costeen Hatzi at the Australian Open in January. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

Nick Kyrgios says best chance of slam at Wimbledon

Kyrgios is a genuine contender to claim the title at the Australian Open in January, however he will have to go through Djokovic and Nadal. According to the World No.22, his real chance will come when Wimbledon rolls around again.

"I'm training well, enjoying it, mentally feeling good. That's all that really matters," he said. "Whether I go in there and win the [Australian Open] or lose first round, I'm the same person. I'm taking it day by day, I'm a day-by-day person. I'm not thinking ahead at all.

"Of the four (grand slams) Wimbledon's always been my first shot to win a slam. It's still true that it's my best chance, definitely - it's the biggest one and the most important one."

Kyrgios told reporters at the World Tennis League in Dubai this week that he'd love to retire from tennis if he wins a grand slam in 2023. On Thursday he revealed he doesn't see himself playing past the age of 30.

"I wanted to have a family by then and enjoy family time and enjoy all the hard work I've put in," he said. "So if I have another couple years like this, I think then I would say goodbye. But that's still two-and-a-half years away, so let's see."

Speaking to Eurosport, Kyrgios said he hates the extended periods he spends away from his family in Australia. "There’s just so much travel, so much time away from family, so much time away from friends," he said. "You’re just missing milestones in the family, you’re just not having a normal life really."

with AAP

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