Nick Kyrgios has been commended for his bravery after opening up about his battle with depression.
In an interview with Stellar magazine on Sunday, the 25-year-old tennis star said his struggles with depression left him in a “lonely, dark place”.
Kyrgios said he began seeing a psychologist in 2018 to “get on top of his mental health” while also vowing to reduce his schedule.
The Aussie star has not played since February after limiting his travel because of the coronavirus pandemic, and dropped to No.45 in the ATP world tour rankings.
“When I was struggling - and it wasn't just about tennis - there were moments when I was seriously depressed,” Kyrgios told the Sunday Telegraph magazine.
“I remember waking up in Shanghai one year and it was 4pm and I was still in bed, curtains closed. I didn't want to see the light of day.
“I felt like no-one wanted to know me as a person, they just wanted to get a hold of me as a tennis player and use me.
“I didn't feel like I could trust anyone. It was a lonely, dark place. And things came from that. I just lost joy for the game and I was spiralling out of control.”
Kyrgios has been regularly criticised for his on-court behaviour and portrayed as the bad boy of tennis.
He was given a suspended 16-week ban and fined $US25,000 ($A34,445) in September 2019 because of “aggregated behaviour”.
“I fell into depression because of the things I thought I had to be,” Kyrgios said.
“I was afraid to go out and talk to people because I thought I'd let them down because I wasn't winning matches.”
Fans took to social media to send messages of support to Kyrgios on Sunday.
Good on him 4 speaking about it, not that he has 2 explain himself. This won't come as a surprise to many people. NK is such a talented player with the potential of being the best, but if his head isn't engaged then it all goes through the window.
— 2012 (@Bufferb2012) November 8, 2020
Great piece on Nick Kyrgios. Highlights his mental depression and the battle with his on court persona. Shows that irrespective of your ability, you can go through mental battles. Also represents the need for openness and honesty within sport. @NTUSportSciMgmt https://t.co/Nnt5qeWfNf
— Jacob Bizzell Hawes (@jacobfbh1) November 8, 2020
— blOKes 🧠 (@_blOKes) November 8, 2020
Let’s focus on mental health. Let’s focus on self care.
— Thoughts (@unlimitedbanter) November 8, 2020
@NickKyrgios I started getting into tennis in June, watched a bunch of videos in general. I saw a bunch of your games and immediately loved watching you! Just read the article about you from @Reuters and I'm glad you've been taking time for yourself! Can't wait for your return!
— Brady Stokes (@brady_stokes) November 8, 2020
— Bickford 🦘 (@BickfordRoo) November 8, 2020
Nick Kyrgios turning his image around
Kyrgios gained new respect earlier this year by spearheading fundraising efforts for Australia’s deadly bushfires, a crisis which he said gave him a new perspective.
He has also been hailed as a voice of reason during the coronavirus pandemic, calling out fellow players - most notably Novak Djokovic - for not taking it seriously enough.
Kyrgios opted out of the US Open and French Open this year due to Covid-19, with the break allowing him to reconnect with family and live a more stable lifestyle.
“Nothing beats playing in some of the best parts of the world against tough opponents and doing all the work off the court to have success,” he said.
“I’m definitely missing it. But I don’t live and breathe tennis.
“I love being at home with my family and my girlfriend, and working with my foundation (for underprivileged children) and helping the community.
“There are plenty of other things I love doing.”
A post shared by Nick Kyrgios (@k1ngkyrg1os) on
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