Nick Kyrgios doesn’t always need tennis, but he says we do.
Famed as much for his indifference to the sport that’s made him a living as his freakish ability and questionable on-court antics, Kyrgios offered no easy answers when it came to hosting a tennis tournament amidst a pandemic.
But his sense was that the show should probably goon.
“I think sport is essential for us,” he said before news that a worker at an Australian Open quarantine hotel had tested positive for the virus became widespread.
“Tennis is such a rich culture in Australia … we’ve got so many legends of the sport, I think we almost need it in a sense.
“Whether or not it’s the right time, that’s not for me to say because we are going ahead with it.”
Kyrgios admitted allowing tennis players to travel the world amid a backdrop of COVID and others’ suffering was difficult to reconcile.
“I’m sure some people that have had family members affected by it or lose family members, are saying like, ‘what the hell are you doing playing a tennis tournament’, you know?
“But it’s a tough one. It’s a tough question.”
Having not played a competitive tournament since February last year, the 25-year-old said he wasn’t getting quite as worked up on court – though an outburst over a time violation during his match against Harry Bourchier suggests it’s still very much a work in progress.
“My relationship with tennis can change in a minute, but I think me being away from it, I’m not getting as angry, I feel,” he said.
“Like when I’m missing shots, I am.
“I feel like I’ve been around the tour for a while now. I feel like I’m not going to get as angry as I used to. I just feel as if I know what style of tennis I need to be playing to win matches now.”