Nick Kyrgios press conference, Wimbledon mens final news 2022: Praises Lleyton Hewitt

Nick Kyrgios has taken aim at Australian tennis greats that have had a “sick obsession” of “tearing me down”, but lauded Lleyton Hewitt for his unwavering support ahead of the 27-year-old’s bigger match of his career.

The richly-talented but deeply divisive Australian is through to the biggest match of his career after Spanish superstar Rafael Nadal pulled out of their Wimbledon semi-final with an abdominal injury.

It thrust Kyrgios into a maiden Grand Slam decider — a remarkable feat after admitting this year he had suicidal thoughts, abused drugs and self-harmed during a dark period in his life in 2019.

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Kyrgios is now Australia’s first able men’s Grand Slam singles finalist since Hewitt at the Australian Open in 2005.

“The only great that’s ever been supportive of me the whole time has been Lleyton Hewitt,” Kyrgios said.

“He kind of knows that I kind of do my own thing. I’m definitely the outcast of the Australian players. It sucks.

“It’s pretty sad because I don’t get any support from any of the other Australian tennis players, the male side.

“Not the players, but like the past greats. It’s weird they just have like a sick obsession with tearing me down for some reason.”

Nick Kyrgios with Lleyton Hewitt during a 2020 ATP Cup match. Picture: Craig Golding
Nick Kyrgios with Lleyton Hewitt during a 2020 ATP Cup match. Picture: Craig GoldingSource: AAP

Kyrgios had never previously got beyond the quarter-finals of a Slam before his current visit to the All England Club.

He made the last eight on his 2014 debut and reached the quarter-finals in Australia in 2015 but since then his career has been punctuated by more downs than ups.

“I never thought I’d be here at all, to be brutally honest with you,” he said. “But I’m just super proud and I’m just ready to go. I’m going to give it my all and we’ll see what happens.”

“If I lift a Grand Slam trophy, please don’t put pressure on me to win another one.”

“The one thing for sure, whether I win or lose on Sunday, I’m going to be happy.

“It’s such a great achievement that I thought I’d never be a part of.

“Especially at 27, I feel this is the latter stages of my career. I just never thought it would be right here. I have a chance.

“There’s definitely times where I hate this sport, but there are times where I think I’m one of the most competitive people I’ve ever met.

“I love tennis, but I just love competing. I just love going up against someone, and I love just the winning and losing aspect of sport in general. So I don’t know if that will ever change.”

Had he faced Nadal, it would have been their third clash at Wimbledon. Kyrgios won the first in 2014 as a 144th-ranked wildcard before Nadal gained revenge in a stormy clash three years ago.

“We’ve had a lot of run-ins, a lot of battles,” said Kyrgios. “I’m sure at the end of the day everyone did want to see us go to war out there. I hope he just gets better.

“Obviously you never want to see someone like that, so important to the sport, go down with an injury like that. I’m sure I’ll play him again on a big stage.”

Earlier Friday, Kyrgios had posted a goodwill message on Instagram to Nadal. “Different players, different personalities. @rafaelnadal I hope your recovery goes well and we all hope to see you healthy soon — till next time.”

Kyrgios has revealed that Novak Djokovic reached out to him on Instagram to discuss Sunday’s Wimbledon final days before the Aussie reached his maiden championship match at a Grand Slam.

Kyrgios will now take on either Novak Djokovic or Cameron Norrie, who’ll face off on Saturday morning (AEST) for a place in the final.

Kyrgios revealed Djokovic reached out to him via Instagram days before the Aussie reached his maiden Grand Slam singles final, with the world No. 1 sharing his hope to face Kyrgios in the Wimbledon decider.

“We definitely have a bit of a bromance now, which is weird,” he said. “I think everyone knows there was no love lost for a while there. I think it was healthy for the sport. I think every time we played each other, there was hype around it. It was interesting for the media, the people watching, all that.

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“I felt like I was almost the only kind of player and someone to stand up for him with all that kind of drama at Australian Open. I feel like that’s where respect is kind of earned. Not on the tennis court, but I feel like when a real life crisis is happening and someone stands up for you.

“We actually message each other on DMs in Instagram now and stuff. It’s real weird. Actually earlier in the week, he was like, ‘Hopefully I’ll see you Sunday.’”

— with AFP

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