Nick Kyrgios has made the eye-opening admission that he never read a letter addressed to him from the late, Shane Warne, in which the cricket great offered the young Aussie some valuable advice about his career. Kyrgios opened up on a number of topics in an exclusive sit-down interview with British shock-jock Piers Morgan.
The 28-year-old tennis star has been praised for his honest and open account of his mental health struggles and the impact British tennis star Andy Murray had on encouraging him to seek help. Kyrgios also touched on the racism he's faced as a professional athlete, how his mother won't attend his matches due to her long health battle and how she once had a gun held to her head during an alleged robbery.
Morgan asked Kyrgios about an open letter Warne wrote to the tennis ace on Facebook when Kyrgios was just 20 and had broken onto the sporting scene as one of the country's biggest stars. Warne urged Kyrgios to "grow up" in a social media post that was liked more than 3000 times, in which the Aussie cricket great offered his compatriot some valuable advice about being a high-profile sporting star.
“Nick, grow up, you’ve got an unbelievable talent, be the best tennis player you can, be silly, have fun, but just don’t be stupid,” Warne wrote. The cricket legend urged Kyrgios to be respectful on the tennis court, while urging him to work hard, refuse to give up and make sure that he did not waste the obvious talent the tennis star had been bestowed with.
“That might be the pot calling the kettle black, because I’ve done some stupid things, but here’s the thing, I’m nearly 48 years of age and I’ve learnt from my mistakes," Warne continued. “I’ve been there and I’ve done that, and I actually think in a funny sort of way I could probably help Nick Kyrgios a lot.” Despite Warne being one of the country's greatest ever sporting figures, Kyrgios said he never read the letter.
Warne also spoke about Kyrgios during an interview at the time, where it was the admiration he had for the tennis star, despite his warnings to the firebrand. Warne assured Kyrgios that the country wanted him to do well and succeed in tennis but urged him to tone down the controversial acts that made him such a polarising figure. The cricket legend suggested a lengthy ban for Kyrgios may have helped him see the light.
“I think if we actually punished him properly, the next time he steps out of line, say: ‘This is unacceptable’. Whether it be from the Australian tennis, or whatever, if you want to be a tennis player for Australia and represent your country, we’ll embrace you, your flair, your character.
“We’re happy for you to do some silly things if that’s what you want to do. No problem. But if you overstep the line, smashing, throwing your racquet, abusing people, just belittling people, and not showing respect for the game ... we might ban you for 12 months.”
Nick Kyrgios hails Andy Murray in mental health reveal
One major topic that Kyrgios discussed in the interview with Morgan was his documented mental health struggles. The Aussie star singled out Britain's three-time major winner Murray for special praise after revealing the role he played in helping Kyrgios seek professional help after noticing wounds from self-harm on the Aussie's arm while on tour.
"He took me under his wing... I thank him a lot."
Nick Kyrgios tells Piers Morgan how Andy Murray helped him with mental health and self harm struggles.
Watch the full interview on tonight's Uncensored at 8pm (UK). @NickKyrgios | @andy_murray | @piersmorgan | #PMU pic.twitter.com/VYpAdQBVKL
— Piers Morgan Uncensored (@PiersUncensored) December 1, 2023
“Andy was always a big supporter of me,” Kyrgios said. "As soon as I came on the tour, he kind of saw a work in progress and took me under his wing. Then he realised later in my career that I don’t think I was coachable or I was on my own path, but he was always someone that was looking out for me.
"He saw it (the self-harm) and he said, ‘What’s that on your arm?’ It was pretty bad at that stage. I'd be in the locker room and people would be able to see my self-harm. So I could only imagine what people would think when they were actually versing me on the tennis court. They're like, ‘Wow, this guy's mentally in a storm at the moment and he's still trying to play’.
"Andy obviously was trying to give me advice on it. But I was just so stuck in my ways at that time that I didn’t listen. Obviously I’m very thankful. I thank him a lot."
Sign up to our newsletter and score the biggest sport stories of the week.