Tired of being branded a wasted talent, Nick Kyrgios hopes his “amazing tennis” will get the critics off his back so they might give him space to relax off court and not condemn him for enjoying a beer at a pub.
A day after stunning world number one Daniil Medvedev, Kyrgios steamrolled compatriot Alex de Minaur 6-2 6-3 at the Canadian Masters on Thursday to notch his 15th win from 16 matches.
The fiery Wimbledon finalist has often struggled to stay motivated but now hopes to keep his hot streak alive ahead of next month’s U.S. Open.
“I’m doing this for a lot of people. (I) want to prove to myself that I can still play some amazing tennis,” the 27-year-old Australian told reporters.
“I’m doing it for a lot of people just so I can have a bit of peace and quiet, I can actually rest at nighttime.
“I feel like, compared to other players I deal with a lot of shit, negativity, bad media, bad articles, this, that, wasted talent, whatever.
“So I feel like when it’s all said and done, if I continue to play like this for a little bit, prove people wrong, I can just relax a little bit.
“Like, have a beer at a pub, not get bothered about it.”
Famous for his explosive tantrums and conduct violations, Kyrgios said the media had judged him based on the “2%” of his life on court.
“You guys kind of painted me to be this horrific person for like five years,” he added.
“But now I feel like it just kind of washed away. The true colours came through.
“Hopefully I’m inspiring millions of people to just go about their life or their sport or their career as they want to and be comfortable in their own skin.”
He said he no longer cared what people thought of him on court but drew the line when fans yelled “racial slurs” at him.
“When they cross that line, then that’s when I start to get — that’s when I’ll probably talk back a little bit,” he said.
He added that he was a strong believer in the need to be two different people to be a successful athlete.
“You can’t be a super nice guy, a generous guy all the time on the court, otherwise I’d be terrible at the game.
“Tennis players have to be selfish. You have to walk around like you’re the best player in the world. You have to have that mentality.”
Having now earned a seeding at the U.S. Open, Kyrgios will next face Polish world number 10 Hubert Hurkacz, who he lost to at Halle in June.
While praising Hurkacz as a great player, Kyrgios said he felt his own opponents were a bit nervous seeing his form.
“I’ve got to use that to my advantage.”